Winckelmann, Johann Joachim (yōˈhän yōäˈkhĭm vĭngˈkəlmän) [key], 1717–68, German classical archaeologist and historian of ancient art, in which field he was a noted authority. A convert to Roman Catholicism in 1754, he went to Italy the following year. There he spent the rest of his life in study in the Vatican Library and in research in Rome, Florence, and Naples. His chief book was Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums [history of the art of antiquity] (1764). The first great analysis of art written from a historical perspective, the work deals mainly with Roman art. It served as the foundation for classical art history.
See his Writings on Art (ed. by D. Irwin, 1972); biography by W. Leppmann (1970).
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