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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Earl Rosenthal Papers 1942-1998

© 2013 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Rosenthal, Earl. Papers

Dates:

1942-1998

Size:

2.5 linear feet (5 boxes)

Repository:

Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.

Abstract:

Earl Edgar Rosenthal (b. August 26, 1921, d. September 13, 2007) was an art history professor at the University of Chicago for over forty years, scholar of Spanish renaissance art and architecture, and War World II veteran. The collection contains college yearbooks, notebooks documenting his early research trips to Europe and Mexico, notebooks on his dissertation about Spanish architecture, reading notes, timelines of Spanish and French art and architecture, bibliographies, and course lectures. Materials date between 1942 and 1998, with the bulk of the materials being notes taken and revised from about 1990 to 1998. The papers primarily document Rosenthal's early work as an observant art historian in Spain, Italy, and Mexico, his continuously revised notes on the scholarship of his field, and his course lectures on the diffusion of the arts throughout renaissance Europe.

Information on Use

Access

The collection is open for research.

Citation

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Rosenthal, Earl. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library.

Biographical Note

Earl Edgar Rosenthal (b. August 26, 1921, d. September 13, 2007) was an art history professor at the University of Chicago for over forty years, scholar of Spanish renaissance art and architecture, and War World II veteran. After receiving his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 1943, he served with the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946.

He pursued further studies in art history at New York University and completed a dissertation on the Cathedral of Granada in 1953 (published by Princeton, 1961). After brief work for the Milwaukee Art Institute and Layton Art Gallery, he was appointed assistant professor of art at the University of Chicago in 1954, where he developed his entire professorial career, becoming full professor in art history by the 1960s.

In 1963, Rosenthal received a Guggenheim grant, and a year later, he published a highly influential article in the Art Bulletin entitled "Michelangelo's Moses, dal di sotto in su" (December 1964). In his careful study of this work, already vastly examined, Rosenthal nonetheless observed that the extremes in proportion of the Moses statue only made sense in the context of its original purpose, to be placed high on Julius II's tomb. Thus, Rosenthal's postulation that the Moses only made sense when seen "looking up from below" demonstrates his astute examinations and original thinking.

Rosenthal was known for teaching courses on the diffusion of the renaissance arts throughout Europe and for highlighting Spain's important contributions to this period of art history. He published a monograph in 1985 entitled The Palace of Charles V in Granada. In 1995, Professor Rosenthal retired to Santa Barbara, where he died at the age of 86.

Scope Note

The Earl Rosenthal Papers are arranged into three series: Series I: Personal; Series II: Research; and Series III: Teaching. The collection contains college yearbooks; research notebooks and reading notes in various formats; bibliographies and lecture notes for courses taught. Materials date between 1942 and 1998, with the bulk of the materials being notes taken and revised from about 1990 to 1998. The papers primarily document Rosenthal's early work as an observant art historian in Spain, Italy, and Mexico, his continuously revised notes on the scholarship of his field, and his well-known course lectures on the diffusion of the arts throughout renaissance Europe.

Series I, Personal, contains two yearbooks from the Milwaukee State Teachers College, 1942 and 1943, now known as the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, where Rosenthal obtained his Bachelor's degree in 1943.

Series II, Research, contains 19 notebooks from Rosenthal's early research trips to Europe and Mexico in the late 1940s and 1950, as well as many loose reading notes on various topics which Rosenthal had kept in shoeboxes. Of particular interest are the field notebooks, which include many on-site sketches of architectural details and monuments. Rosenthal was known to use his own personally-made measurements in his publications on Spanish architecture. One undated and unlabeled notebook of the kind used for documenting research trips to Mexico appears to also contain Rosenthal's personal reflections and includes notes taken on a lecture attended at the University of Chicago. Subsequent reading notes in this series come in all forms and sizes and include recurring subjects and some revising statements. Note subjects include (but are not limited to) German thinkers, Romanticism, the Enlightenment, historiography, nationalism (particularly German), and topics in Christianity.

Series III, Teaching, consists of material Rosenthal used for his various lectures on the "Diffusion of the Renaissance." These include typed-out lectures with added handwritten notes, various bibliographies, and detailed handwritten, fold-out timelines of renaissance art and architecture in France and Spain. Of note is Rosenthal's typed lecture in Spanish for a course he taught at the University of Granada, Spain.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/select.html

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Series I: Personal

Box 1   Folder 1

Yearbook – Milwaukee State Teachers College, 1942

Box 1   Folder 2

Yearbook – Milwaukee State Teachers College, 1943

Series II: Research

Box 1   Folder 3

Notebooks – Spain, III-VI, Aug. 1948-Nov. 1948

Box 1   Folder 4

Notebooks – Spain, VII-X, Nov. 1948-Jan. 1949

Box 1   Folder 5

Notebooks – Spain, XI-XIII, April 1949-July 1949

Box 1   Folder 6

Notebooks – Spain Thesis, I-IV, 1949, Undated

Box 2   Folder 1

Notebooks – Italy – Mexico, 1950, Undated

Box 2   Folder 2

Reading Notes – German Thinkers – Kant, 1998, Undated

Box 2   Folder 3

Reading Notes – Kant – Early Romantics, 1998, Undated

Box 2   Folder 4

Reading Notes – French Thinkers – Schlegel – Canon, 1998, Undated

Box 2   Folder 5

Reading Notes – Individual and Irony in Romanticism – Schlegel, 1998, Undated

Box 2   Folder 6

Reading Notes – Idealism – Schlegel – Term "Romantic" – Schiller, 1998, Undated

Box 3   Folder 1

Reading Notes – Schiller – Schlegel, 1998, Undated

Box 3   Folder 2

Reading Notes – Holism – Tieck – Early Romanticism and Definition – Fichte – German Nationalism, 1998, Undated

Box 3   Folder 3

Reading Notes – Post-Herder German Nationalism – Ancient and Renaissance Epistemology, 1995-1998, Undated

Box 3   Folder 4

Reading Notes – Descartes Epistemology – Locke – Skepticism – Sublime, 1998, Undated

Box 3   Folder 5

Reading Notes – Enlightenment – Sublime, 1995-1998, Undated

Box 3   Folder 6

Reading Notes – Germany and Spain – Writing Notes, 1997, Undated

Box 4   Folder 1

Reading Notes – Marxism and Art – Derrida, 1985, 1990, Undated

Box 4   Folder 2

Reading Notes – Semiotics, 1991, Undated

Box 4   Folder 3

Reading Notes – Fortuna – Latter Half of Sixteenth Century – Hebrew History, Undated

Box 4   Folder 4

Reading Notes – Ancient History – Post-Vasari Histories, Undated

Box 4   Folder 5

Reading Notes – Mentalité – Style, 1991, Undated

Box 4   Folder 6

Reading Notes – Historiography – Siglo de Oro – Religion – Immaculate Conception – Ecstasy, 1996, Undated

Box 4   Folder 7

Reading Notes – Iconography – Counter-Reformation Theory, Undated

Box 5   Folder 1

Reading Notes – Nationalism – Taine – Regional Traits, 1995, 1997, Undated

Box 5   Folder 2

Reading Notes – Nietzsche – Dilthey, Undated

Series III: Teaching

Box 5   Folder 3

Bibliography – Course "Diffusion of the Renaissance," 1978-1989

Box 5   Folder 4

Lecture Notes – "Diffusion of all the Arts," 1984

Box 5   Folder 5

Lecture Notes – Timelines, Lectures, Undated

Box 5   Folder 6

Lecture Notes – University of Granada Course "Diffusion of the Renaissance," Undated