MacArthur Fellows Program

Leo Steinberg

Art Historian | Class of 1986

Art Historian
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
66 at time of award
March 13, 2011

Leo Steinberg was an art historian who specialized in the Renaissance, baroque, and modern periods.

Steinberg developed new critical methods for solving the problems of meaning, form, and aesthetics in the interpretation of masterpieces of Western art.  His books included Other Criteria: Confrontations with Twentieth-Century Art (1972), Michelangelo’s Last Paintings (1975), Borromini’s San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane (1977), The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion (1983; 2d ed., rev. and enlarged, 1996), Encounters with Rauschenberg (1999), and Leonardo's Incessant Last Supper (2001). 

Steinberg began his teaching career at Hunter College, the City University of New York in 1962, where he co-founded the Department of Art History in 1972.  After 1991, he was the Benjamin Franklin Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania.  He held a number of visiting lecturer appointments, including the Andrew W. Mellon Lecturer in Fine Arts at the National Gallery of Art (1981-82), the Charles Eliot Norton Lecturer at Harvard University (1995-96), and as a visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin (1996). 

Steinberg received a diploma in the fine arts (1940) from the Slade School, University of London, and a B. S. (1954) and Ph.D. (1960) from New York University. 

Last updated January 1, 2005.

News About This Fellow
March 14, 2011
"Leo Steinberg, Art Historian, Dies at 90"
The New York Times
Leo Steinberg , 1986 MacArthur Fellow
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