Date born: 1887
Place born: The Hague, The Netherlands
Date died: 1936
Place died: Perugia, Italy
Art historian, iconographer, and connoisseur; wrote early survey of Italian art. Van Marle studied in Paris at the École des Chartes and the École Pratique des Hautes Études. In 1910, he took his degree of Docteur-ès-Lettres at the Sorbonne. His earliest writings are on Dutch medieval history. In 1908, he published Le Comté de Hollande sous Philippe le Bon (The County of Holland under Philippe le Bon), and in 1910 followed Hoorn au Moyen Âge. In 1916, a study on the doctrine of the mystic Eckehart (ca 1260-1327) appeared in Dutch: De mystieke leer van Meister Eckehart. After his marriage, he settled in Perugia in 1918, where he could afford to live without employment, dedicating his life to art-historical research. He wrote several studies on Italian painting and iconography. In 1923 he began publishing his monographic series on Italian paintings which covered the the early Christian era to the end of the Quattrocento, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. He had projected 21 volumes, but only published 17 before his sudden death in 1936. Volume 16 remained unpublished. After his death, the text was completed by F. Mason Perkins (q.v.) and edited by Van Marle’s wife, Charlotte, in 1937. She also composed the General Index, in an additional 19th volume. Between 1932 and 1934, the two first volumes were published in Italian, in a translation by Alba Buitoni. Another important work by Van Marle is his two-volume Iconographie de l’art profane au Moyen-Âge et à la Renaissance, et la décoration des demeures, published in 1931-32. It deals with a large variety of representations of daily life, and allegories and symbols, decorating churches, illuminated books and dwellings. Van Marle's death at 49 left two further volumes in preparation.
In the preface of the first volume of the Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, Van Marle explained several aspects of his methodology. One of his statements was the suggestion that a modern art historian has to take into account both the results of archival research and those of connoisseurship. His knowledge was almost encyclopedic and his connoisseurship lead him frequently to new discoveries and attributions, which he published in various international magazines and journals. Van Marle employed psychological analysis to his subjects. John Presland described him as a cosmopolitan and a humanist, likening him to Erasmus of Rotterdam. MD
Home Country: The Netherlands/France/Italy
Sources: Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Sources of Information in the Humanities, no. 2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982, pp. 56, 60 mentioned; Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, p. 57 mentioned; Bialistocki, Jan. "Iconography." Encyclopedia of World Art. 7: 769 ff. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959-68; [obituaries:] The Times (London). December 15, 1936, p. 18; Hind, Arthur M. The Burlington Magazine 70 (1937): 46-47; Apollo, 25 (1937): 54; Presland, John in The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, 16, The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1937 [unnumbered pages].
Bibliography: Le Comté de Hollande sous Philippe le Bon. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1908; Hoorn au Moyen Âge. Son histoire et ses institutions jusqu’au début du seizième siècle. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1910; De mystieke leer van Meister Eckehart. Haarlem: J.W. Boissevain, 1916; Recherches sur l’iconographie de Giotto et de Duccio. Strasbourg: J.H.E. Heitz, 1920; Simone Martini et les peintres de son école. Strasbourg: J.H.E. Heitz, 1920; La peinture romaine au Moyen Âge. Son développement du sixième jusqu’à la fin du treizième siècle. Strasbourg: J.H.E. Heitz, 1921; English, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting. 19 vols. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1923-38; Iconographie de l’art profane au Moyen-Âge et à la Renaissance, et la décoration des demeures. 1. La vie quotidienne. 2. Allégories et symbols. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff, 1931-1932; Le scuole della pittura italiana. 2 vols. Translated in Italian by Alba Buitoni. The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1932-1934; Gemme d’arte antica italiana. Milan: Alfieri & Lacroix, 1938.