Berlin art historian and early exponent of the study of Baroque art. Brinckmann's father was an architect; the younger Brinckmann learned the elements of architecture as a youth. He studied art history and archaeology at the universities of Munich and Berlin. He wrote his dissertation under Heinrich Wölfflin. His dissertation employs methodology of developmentalism and psychology of his mentor. In 1909 he became an assistant at the Technische Hochschule in Aachen, completing his habilitation a year later on Renaissance city planning, dedicated to Wölfflin.