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Smith, Robert C.

    Full Name: Smith, Robert C.

    Other Names:

    • Robert Chester Smith

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1912

    Date Died: 1975

    Place Born: Cranford, Union, NJ, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Baroque, Brazilian, and Portuguese (culture or style)


    Historian of the Brazilian and Portugese Baroque; professor at School of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania, 1956-1975. Smith’s Harvard dissertation, granted in 1936, was likely supervised by the Renaissance art historian and Dean of the architecture school, George Harold Edgell. Smith also taught at the University of Illinois and at Sweet Briar College. He was a consultant and lecturer at Colonial Williamsburg. His The Art of Portugal, 1968, won the Athenaeum Literary Award. He studied Portuguese and Brazilian art and architecture as a college student. In 1936 Smith wrote his dissertation on the architect João Frederico Ludovice. He joined Pennsylvania University in 1947. Robert Smith bequeathed his personal archive made up of written documents, photographs and unpublished works to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. The Robert C. Smith Award was established by the Decorative Arts Society of the Society of Architectural Historians for the most distinguished journal article in the decorative arts. Primarily published articles.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] João Frederico Ludovice, arquitecto de Mafra. Harvard, 1936; A talha em Portugal. Lisbon, 1962; Frei José de Santo Antonio Ferreira Vilaça escultor beneditino do seculo XVIII. Gulbenkian Foundation, 1972; “Baroque and Rococo Braga: Documenting Eighteenth-Century Architecture and Sculpture in Northern Portugal.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 1971, pp. 214 of 214-220.


    Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire de l’art: de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, pp. 451-452; Sala, Dalton, and Tamen, Pedro, et al. Robert C. Smith, 1912-1975: A investigação na História de Arte/ Research in History of Art. Lisbon: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 2000, especially, Wohl, Helmut. “Robert Chester Smith and the History of Art in the United States.” pp. 16-29 and Russell-Wood, A. J. R. “Robert Chester Smith: investigador e historiador”/Robert Chester Smith: Research Scholar and Historian.” pp. 30-65.


    "Smith, Robert C.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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