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Millon, Hank

    Full Name: Millon, Hank

    Other Names:

    • Hank Millon

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1927

    Place Born: Altoona, Blair, PA, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): architecture (object genre), Baroque, Renaissance, and sculpture (visual works)


    Architectural historian of the Renaissance and Baroque era. Millon’s father, Henri Francois Millon, was an aerial photographer and his mother, Louise de Serent (Millon), was the daughter of the publisher of a French newspaper in New York. Millon graduated from Brownsville, Texas, high school in 1942. He entered Navy ROTC (then called the Navy V-12 program) in 1943 at Tulane University. He served in active duty immediately after World War II in 1946. He returned to Tulane where he received multiple bachelor’s degrees in English, physics and architecture. He spent a year in Paris with a maternal grandmother before entering Harvard University where he received a master’s degree in architecture and urban design. A second master’s degree and Ph.D., in the history of art followed. At Harvard his classes included the legendary seminars taught by Jakob Rosenberg, Sydney Joseph Freedberg and George M. A. Hanfmann. A deep impression was made on him during the two summer courses taught by Rudolf Wittkower at the Fogg Museum. In the 1950’s, Millon met Craig Hugh Smyth the Princeton-trained NYU art historian, twelve years his senior, whom Millon would collaborate on many projects. Following three years of research in Italy first as a Fulbright Fellow and then as a fellow for the American Academy in Rome, 1957-1960, under the directorship of Laurance Page Roberts, he returned to the United States to teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1960 as an assistant professor of architecture. His 1964 dissertation on Guarino Guarini was directed by Wittkower. He married Judith Rice in 1966. Millon was appointed professor at MIT in 1969. Together with Smyth, the two published a series of articles on Michelangelo’s architecture between 1969 and 1983 fundamentally changing contemporary thinking on Michelangelo’s contributions to the design of St. Peter’s. Millon was vice-chair of the Boston Landmarks Commission, 1970-1973. In 1974 he was appointed the Director of the American Academy in Rome, which he held until 1977. He retained his Visiting Faculty status at MIT the rest of his career. In 1980, when the National Gallery of Art in Washgington, D. C., inaugurated the Center for Advanced Study of the Visual Arts, Millon was its first Dean. He and Smyth summarized their research on Michelangelo’s architecture in the 1988 NGA exhibition, “Michelangelo, Architect.” He retired from CASVA in 2000.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] Guarino Guarini and the Palazzo Caarignano in Turin. Harvard University, 1964; and Lampugnani, Vittorio Magnago. The Renaissance from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo: the Representation of Architecture. Milan: Bompiani, 1994; edited, The Triumph of the Baroque: Architecture in Europe, 1600-1750. New York: Rizzoli, 1999; and Smyth, Craig Hugh. Michelangelo architetto: la facciata di San Lorenzo e la cupola di San Pietro. Milan: Olivetti, 1988, English, Michelangelo Architect: the Facade of San Lorenzo and the Drum and Dome of St. Peter’s. Milan: Olivetti, 1988; Italian Renaissance Architecture from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo. London: Thames and Hudson, 1996; and Millon, Judith Rice. St. Paul’s Wthin-the-walls in Rome: a Building History and Guide, 1870-1980. Dublin, NH: W. L. Bauhan, 1982.


    Millon, Henry A. A Life of Learning: Charles Homer Haskins lecture for 2002. New York: American Council of Learned Societies, 2002.


    "Millon, Hank." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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