Rudolf Wittkower

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Rudolf Wittkower (Berlin 22 June 1901 – 11 October 1971 New York City) was a German art historian.


He was born in Berlin and moved to London in 1934. He taught at the Warburg Institute, University of London from 1934 to 1956, was appointed Durning Lawrence professor at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London in 1949 and then at Columbia University from 1956 to 1969 where he was chairman of the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

Wittkower's Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism introduced an in depth analysis of Venetian architect Andrea Palladio and his relation to sixteenth century music theory. Part Four specifically deals with how and why Palladio adapted harmonic musical ratios and incorporated them into the physical proportions of his buildings. Although this theory of Palladian proportions was universally accepted after the book's release, recent works in art history have made it the subject of much controversy.

He was awarded the Alice Davis Hitchcock Award posthumously in 1975.


  • Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism (1949)
  • Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque (1955)
  • The Arts in Western Europe: Italy in New Cambridge Modern History, vol. 1 (1957), pp. 127–53
  • Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600–1750 (1958, and revised editions)
  • Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists (1963, with Margot Wittkower)
  • The Divine Michelangelo (1964, with Margot Wittkower)
  • Sculpture: Processes and Principles (1977, with Margot Wittkower)