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Rosenthal, Earl E.

    Full Name: Rosenthal, Earl E.

    Other Names:

    • Earl Edgar Rosenthal

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1921

    Place Born: Milwaukee, WI, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

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

    Career(s): educators


    University of Chicago professor of renaissance art and architecture, 1954-. Rosenthal was son of Edgar Ernst Rosenthal and Renee Wyler (Rosenthal). He received his B. A. from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 1943. After military service in World War II in the Naval Reserve,1943-46, he continued work in art history at New York University, writing a dissertation on the Cathedral of Granada in 1953. He returned to Milwaukee to shortly before completion of his degree to work as a curator for the Milwaukee Art Institute and Layton Art Gallery (modern Milwaukee Art Museum). In 1954 he was appointed assistant professor of art at the University of Chicago, where he remained the rest of his career. He was named associate professor in 1960. His dissertation was published by Princeton University Press in 1961. He received a 1963 Guggenheim grant. In 1964 Rosenthal wrote a groundbreaking article for the Art Bulletin on a work that had been previously thoroughly studied: Michelangelo’s statue of Moses. In it, he postulated that the extremes in proportion of the statue were due to the original intention to place the statue high on Julius II’s tomb. Rosenthal was appointed full professor of art history at Chicago in 1958. He was noted for his courses on the diffusion of the renaissance throughout Europe, emphasizing Spain’s contribution. He published a 1985 monograph on the palace of Charles V, also by Princeton University Press. Rosenthal’s method was noted for its careful examination of the facts (his books on Spanish architecture employed measurements of the monuments he personally made) and astute observation. His acknowledgement that Michelangelo’s Moses made sense only when it was observed dal di sotto in su (looking up from below), was typical of his original thinking, applied to art objects already heavily studied.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] The Cathedral of Granada: A Study in the Spanish Renaissance. New York University, 1953, revised and published as The Cathedral of Granada: A Study in the Spanish Renaissance. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961; The Palace of Charles V in Granada. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985; “Image of Roman Architecture in Renaissance Spain.” Gazette des Beaux-Arts 52 (December 1958): 329-46; “Michelangelo’s Moses, dal di sotto in su.” Art Bulletin 46 (December 1964): 544-50; “Plus ultra, non plus ultra, and the Columnar Device of Emperor Charles V.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 34 (1971): 204-28.


    Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, p. 51 mentioned; personal information.


    "Rosenthal, Earl E.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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