Professor Emeritus

Irving Lavin

School of Historical Studies
Art History
Historical Studies
Field of Study
Art History

Irving Lavin is one of America’s most distinguished art historians. He has written extensively on the history of art from late antiquity to modern times. His interests have focused primarily on the correlation between form and meaning in the visual arts. His numerous books on Italian painting, sculpture, and architecture of the Renaissance and Baroque periods include Bernini and the Crossing of St. Peter’s (1968); Bernini and the Unity of the Visual Arts (1980); Past-Present: Essays on Historicism in Art from Donatello to Picasso (1993); Santa Maria del Fiore: Il Duomo di Firenze e la Vergine Incinta (1999); and Caravaggio e La Tour: La Luce Occulta di Dio (2000). The first two volumes of a projected six-volume edition of his collected works have been published as Visible Spirit: The Art of Gianlorenzo Bernini (2007–09), while the third volume has appeared as Bernini at St. Peter’s: The Pilgrimage (2012). A gathering of his essays on modern art has appeared in Italian as L’Arte della storia dell’arte (2008).

Dates at IAS
  • Historical Studies
  • Historical Studies
Harvard University Ph.D., 1955
Harvard University M.A., 1953
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University M.A., 1952
Awards: University of Pisa, Premio Internazionale “Galileo Galilei” 2005; Premio Daria Borghese, Rome, 1981; City of Rome, Tricentennial Medal Commemorating the Death of Gianlorenzo Bernini 1980; Guggenheim Fellowship 1968–69; College Art Association of America, Arthur Kingsley Porter Prize 1968, 1962, 1959; Senior Fulbright Scholar, Italy, 1961–63
Lectureships: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Andrew W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts 2004; University of Oxford, Slade Lectures 1985
Memberships: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Rome; American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Honorary Member, Corporation of Sculptors and Marble Workers of Rome (Università dei Marmorari di Roma); Member, Italian Editorial Committee for a Complete Corpus of the Sculpture of Gianlorenzo Bernini
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University 1963–1973 Faculty
Vassar College 1959–1961 Faculty
Harvard University, Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection 1957–1959 Senior Research Fellow