Vincent Scully, 97, Influential Architecture Historian, DiesHistorians in the News
tags: architecture, obituary, Vincent Scully
Vincent Scully, the Yale art historian whose lectures inspired students for more than 60 years and whose writings on architecture had a decisive influence on its practice in the last half of the 20th century, died on Thursday night at his home in Lynchburg, Va. He was 97.
Yale University announced the death, giving the cause as complications of Parkinson’s disease.
The author of books on Greek temples, Palladio’s villas and the American Indian pueblo, as well as many more on the architecture of modernism, Professor Scully treated the history of every culture and every period as if it were in continual dialogue with his own time. “Everything in the past is always waiting, waiting to detonate,” he once said.
Exalted as a lecturer by generations of undergraduates at Yale, where he had taught since 1947, he retired in 1991 as Sterling professor emeritus of the history of art, only to return by popular demand the next year. He continued to give his renowned course “Introduction to the History of Art” until poor health forced him to cancel it before the 2009 fall semester.
His lectures were theatrical pieces that commonly left his audience transported and the performer, in his Ivy League uniform of tie and tweed jacket, drained. He did not speak from notes, and students were not expected to take them. Multiple projectors flashed images on the screen in the darkened hall while he wielded a long pointer, the butt of which he would slam on the wooden floor to signal the operator (a coveted job among art history majors) to move to the next glass slide. ...
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