James Ackerman



James Ackerman passed away on 31 December 2016, at 97. He was one of the most influential professors of art and architectural history in the United States. Born in San Francisco in 1919, Ackerman studied at Yale University, where he met his mentor, Henri Focillon. He furthered his studies at the Fine Arts Institute of New York University, where he completed his doctorate and could establish a direct and fruitful relationship with researchers the likes of Erwin Panofsky and Richard Krautheimer, who instilled in him a passion for the Renaissance. His services in the Army as a soldier in Italy during World War II brought him first-hand knowledge of the buildings and works to which later, as professor at Berkeley and Harvard, he would devote important works in which he was able to combine the formalist analysis of visual studies with the broad perspective of cultural history. Among them some essential titles, unique in their analytical shrewdness and methodological rigor, like The Architecture of Michelangelo (1961), Palladio (1966), Palladio’s Villas (1967), or The Villa: Form and Ideology of Country Houses (1990).

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