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Italian Renaissance Learning Resources

In collaboration with the National Gallery of Art

Berenson, Bernard

(b Butremancz, province of Vilnius, Lithuania, 26 June 1865; d Settignano, Florence, 6 Oct 1959).

Art historian and connoisseur. Son of a Lithuanian timber merchant who emigrated to the USA with his family in 1875, he was educated at the Latin School, Boston, and at Harvard, where he studied Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, Hebrew and German. In an unsuccessful application for a travelling fellowship to Europe, he wrote, ‘Art prevails in this programme because it is there that I feel myself weakest. One can study literature here . . . but art not at all.’ On his subsequent visit to Europe in 1885, financed by friends, his visual self-education was rapid and led to the decision to settle in Italy and to devote his life to the study of Italian art.

William Mostyn-Owen