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Sir John Pope-Hennessy (Sir John Wyndham Pope-Hennessy) Biography

(1913–94), (Sir John Wyndham Pope-Hennessy), Giovanni di Paolo, Sassetta, Sienese Quattrocento Painting

British art historian, born in London, the older brother of James Pope-Hennessy, educated at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1938 he joined the staff of the Victoria and Albert Museum, becoming Keeper of the Department of Architecture and Sculpture in 1954 and Director and Secretary in 1967. After two years as Director of the British Museum, he was appointed Professor of Fine Art at New York University in 1977. Largely self-taught in art history, he was generally regarded as a foremost authority on Italian painting and sculpture. His earlier works include Giovanni di Paolo (1937), Sassetta (1939), and Sienese Quattrocento Painting (1947). Italian Gothic Sculpture (1955), Italian Renaissance Sculpture (1958), and Italian High Renaissance and Baroque Sculpture (1963) are the three volumes of An Introduction to Italian Sculpture, upon which his wider reputation was established. Cellini (1985), one of the most highly acclaimed of his publications, takes its underlying structure from the artist's Autobiography, of which Pope-Hennessy produced an edition in 1949. Among his other works are Luca Del Robbia (1980), Donatello: Sculpture (1993), and Paradiso: The Illuminations to Dante's Divine Comedy by Giovanni di Paolo (1993). His autobiography, Learning to Look, appeared in 1991.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Ellis’ [Edith Mary Pargeter] ‘Peters Biography to Portrait of Dora (Portrait de Dora)