dotCommonweal

A blog by the magazine's editors and contributors

.

Leo Steinberg, RIP

The art critic Leo Steinberg has died at age 90. Brilliant, bold, controversial, a prose stylist in a discipline not known for elegant writing, Steinberg was a larger than life figure.Though he wrote incisively about modern art, his training was in Renaissance and Baroque art, and his most lasting achievements may be in the books he produced about those eras.The Sexuality of Christ in the Renaissance and in Modern Oblivion is typical of Steinberg: a big, thesis-driven book that nonetheless is full of persuasive argument and evidence. His knowledge of, and sensitivity to, Christian theology, was a cut above most other art critics of the time.I also love his late book, Leonardo's Incessant Last Supper, which I reviewed in First Things. Read the review here.NYT obit here.

Comments

Commenting Guidelines

P Flanagan:Nice link. Look forward to reading some of those quotes!

Thanks for highlighting this. I only know the "Sexuality of Christ" book, which I assumed was a controversy in search of a thesis but which turned out to be warm and humane and convincing, to a layman. Hard to gauge how much his idea in that book was accepted. But thanks for the Last Supper reference, which I will check out. Good time of year for it.

In the article below Steinberg discovers Eve (and others) in the Creation of Adam scene in the Sistine Chapel. I heard parts of this article delivered as a bravura performance/lecture at the Metropolitan Museum. Steinberg not only looks closely at Michelangelos masterpiece, apparently a too rare occurrence in the art world, but also draws upon theology to interpret the scene. It's a work that everyone knows but Steinberg saw more in it than almost any other.A large file but worth the effort if you are interested in the Sistine Chapel (or the creation of Adam):http://www.ecfs.org/projects/fieldston272/Readings/SteinbergMichelCreati...