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Swoboda, Karl Maria

    Full Name: Swoboda, Karl Maria

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1889

    Date Died: 1977

    Place Born: Prague, Praha, Hlavní Město, Czech Republic

    Place Died: Rekawinkel, Niederösterreich, Austria

    Home Country/ies: Austria

    Subject Area(s): structuralism

    Career(s): educators


    Student of Aloïs Riegl; early application of structuralism to art historical interpretation Swoboda had been Max Dvořák assistant and lecturer from 1930. He was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, which is present-day Prague, Czech Republic. In 1934 he joined the faculty at the German University of Prague. At the end of World War II, Swoboda was appointed full professor at the university in Vienna in 1946. Swoboda researched late antique and early medieval architecture (‘ Roman and romanische palaces ‘, 1918) as well as the romanesque painting. Swoboda worked to reconcile the Viennese camps of Strzygowski’s Wiener Institut and Schlosser’s. “comparative art research” and the non-European art (‘ contacts of the Christian abendlaendischen art with that Islam ‘, 1952). In 1962 as a final act before he retired, Swoboda moved Institute into the main building at the Ring Strasse. Swoboda’s Viennese art historians included Ludwig von Baldass, who also at the museum, Otto Benesch, and Fritz Novotny. Institut became 1945 provisionally by Wladimir Sas-Zaloziecky (1896-1959; 1935-39 professor in Lemberg, starting from 1940 ao. Professor in Vienna) led, a specialist for Eastern European and Byzantine history of art, starting from 1949 professor in Graz. one appointed. Swoboda’s haughtiness was infamous. While Dvořák’s assistant, he accepted the dissertations of both Frederick Antal and Richard Offner on the same day, ridiculing Offner’s slender volume in comparison to Antal’s. Dvořák countered Swoboda’s criticism with the comment that Offner should publish his (Smyth).

    Selected Bibliography

    “Klassiche Zug in der Kunst der Prager deutschen dombaumeisters Peter Parler” Zeitschrift für Sudetendeutsche Geschichte, 1938; “Problems of the iconography of late antique and early mediaeval palaces.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 20 (May 1961): 78-89;


    Dilly 21, Bazin 163, 286, 347; Metzler Kunsthistoriker Lexikon: zweihundert Porträts deutschsprachiger Autoren aus vier Jahrhunderten. Stuttgart: Metzler, 1999, pp. 407-9; Rokyta, Hugo.”Max Dvora´k und seine Schule in den Böhmischen Ländern.” Österreichische Zeitschrift für Kunst und Denkmalpflege 28 no. 3 (1974): 81-89; [obituaries:] Schmidt, Gerhard. “Karl Maria Swoboda.” Kunstchronik 30 no.12 (December 1977): 546-549; Smyth, Craig Hugh. “Glimpses of Richard Offner.” in, Offner, Richard. A Discerning Eye: Essays on Early Italian Painting. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998, p. 41.


    "Swoboda, Karl Maria." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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