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Rodenwaldt, Gerhart

    Full Name: Rodenwaldt, Gerhart

    Other Names:

    • Gerhart Martin Karl Rodenwaldt

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1886

    Date Died: 1945

    Place Born: Berlin, Germany

    Place Died: Berlin, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Germany

    Subject Area(s): Classical, funerary arts, Roman (ancient Italian culture or period), and sarcophagi (coffins)


    Classical art historian, particularly Roman art and sarcophagi. Rodenwaldt attended the university in Berlin where he studied under the classicists Reinhard Kekulé von Stradonitz, Eduard Meyer and Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1848-1931); at Heidelberg under Friedrich von Duhn; and ultimately Halle where he wrote writing his dissertation (in Latin) in 1908 on wall painting in Pompeii under Carl Robert. Rodenwaldt also studied under the major art historians outside the classical era, including Adolph Goldschmidt in Halle, Heinrich Wölfflin and Henry Thode. Rodenwaldt incorporated their art-historical methodology of other eras into his study of Roman art. He was appointed Professor of archaeology at the University of Giessen in 1917. He left Giessen in 1922 to serve as general secretary of the deutsche archäologische Institut (German Archaeological Institute, or DAI) at a time when government support had fallen off. Rodenwaldt re-established the Institute, developing new centers of the Institute in Istanbul and Cairo. During that time, too, he published the volume on the classical Greece and Rome for the Propyläen Kunstgeschichte series in 1927. In 1931 he succeeded Ferdinand Noack at the University of Berlin. His publishing ventures were often in concert with the photographer Walter Hege (1893-1955), Olympia, Die Akropolis, etc., for the Deutscher Kunstverlag series. In 1940 he invited the Italian archaeologist Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli to hold a conference in Berlin on Roman art, the most admired classical-civilization of the Nazis. At the end of World War II, he committed suicide in Berlin as the Russian armies occupied the city, April 27, 1945. His students in Berlin included George M. A. Hanfmann. Rodenwaldt brought recognition to the Roman “popular style” of art as important for the development of the art of late antiquity and the early medieval period. The distinction he drew between “popular” and “great” art in Imperial Rome greatly influenced the English-speaking world when the concepts appeared in Rodenwaldt’s essay in the Cambridge Ancient History, on Imperial Roman art. His art-historical writing appears in German Readings by Margarete Bieber of 1946.

    His students included Alice Mühsam.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation] Qua ratione pictores pompeiani in componendis parietibus usi sint. Halle, 1908, reprinted and translated into German as chapters 1-3 in, Die Komposition der pompejanischen Wandgemälde. Berlin: Weidmann, 1909; Die Akropolis. Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag,1930, English, The Acropolis. Oxford: B. H. Blackwell, 1930; Griechische Tempel. Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1941; Altdorische Bildwerke in Korfu. Bilderhefte antiker Kunst 5. Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1938; Der Fries des Megarons von Mykenai. Halle: M. Niemeyer, 1921; Die Kunst der Antike: Hellas und Rom. Propyläen-Kunstgeschichte 3. Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag,1927; Olympia. Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 1936; Das Relief bei den Griechen. Berlin: Schoetz & Parrhysius, 1925; über den Stilwandel in der antoninischen Kunst. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1935; edited, vol. 5, pt. 1, of Die Antiken Sarkophagreliefs. Berlin: Mann, 1952ff.; and Kunze, Emil. Hundertstes Winckelmannsprogramm der Archäologischen Gesellschaft zu Berlin. Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1940; “Eine spätantike Kunstströmung in Rom.” Mitteilungen des deutschen archäologischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung 36/37 (1921/22): 58-110; Archäologisches Institut des deutschen Reiches, 1829-1929. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1929; “Kunst um Augustus.” Die Antike 13 (1937); “Ein Typus römische Sarkophage.” Bonner Jahrbücher des Rheinischen Landesmuseums in Bonn und der Gesellschaft der Freunde und Förderer des Rheinischen Landesmuseums in Bonn 147 (1942): 217-227; über den Stilwandel in der antoninischer Kunst. Berlin: Verlag der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften/Walter de Gruyter, 1935; Die Fresken des Palastes [of Tiryns]. Athens: Eleutheroudakis und Barth, 1912; Die Bildwerke des Artemistempels von Korkyra. vol. 2 of Korkyra: archaische Bauten und Bildwerke. 2 vols. Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1939-40; “Verschollene Sarkophage.” Archaologischer Anzeiger 1/2 (1930): 169-187; “The Transition to Late-Classical Art.” chapter 16 of The Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 12: The Imperial Crisis and Recovery A. D. 193-324. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1939. pp. 544-570.


    Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988: 2; Medwid, Linda M. The Makers of Classical Archaeology: A Reference Work. New York: Humanity Books, 2000 pp.261-2; Calder, William. “Rodenwaldt, Gerhart.” Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 2, pp. 965-66.


    "Rodenwaldt, Gerhart." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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