Ulrich Middeldorf




professor. art historian. Director.

Country of origin



Ulrich Middeldorf (1901-1983): born in Strassfurt in 1901, he studied art history at the Universities of Giessen, Munich and Berlin. From 1926 to 1935 he took care of the photo library of the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, of which he was then director (1953-68), after having taught (1935-53) at the University of Chicago where he was conservator of the sculpture department of the Art Institute of Chicago. From 1971 to 1975 he was head of the Longhi Foundation. He has dealt mainly with Italian Renaissance art. Middeldorf studied art history in Giessen - Christian Rauch, in Munich - Heinrich Wölfflin and finally in Berlin with - Adolf Goldschmidt, where he received his doctorate in 1924 with the dissertation "Die thüring.-sächs. Skulptur 1250-1350" (ungedr.). 1925-26 he worked at the German Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence as a scholarship holder, afterwards he lived there until 1935 as a freelance artist. In addition to publications on the artistic interrelations between Italy and Northern Europe, the architecture of the Trecento and the sculpture of the Four- and Cinquecento, he acquired in this decade, the mental armor for his further activity. Middeldorf moved to the United States in 1935, where he served as Professor and Chairman of the Art Department at the University of Chicago, as well as a permanent consultant and initiator of the city's museum and exhibition space. In the 17 years of his activity there, where he also belonged to the editors of "Art Bulletin" and "Art in America" ​​as well as the board of the "Renaissance Society", he understood himself as a mediator of the European, in particular Italian art and culture. With numerous reviews he taught in politically difficult time the American. Audience on priorities of art historical research in Europe. At the same time he published a wealth of new attributions and interpretations of works of art of Italian sculpture, graphic art and applied art. In 1944 and 1945 his works appeared on Raphael's drawings and on the Italian medal art of the 15th-18th centuries. In 1953, Middeldorf was appointed director of the German Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, orphaned in wartime and post-war years, where he devoted himself to the task of reviving it according to its international significance. In his term of office, which lasted until 1968, he increased the library and photographers' holdings three-fold to 90,000 volumes and 250,000 photographs, which he was able to accommodate in a new building, thus significantly improving the working conditions at this institute. Middeldorf was particularly popular with advice for his colleagues to the stars, so that a significant part of his scientific achievements of these years can be found in the work of third parties. After the end of his directorate Middeldorf resumed his publishing activities increasingly. German-American art historian who specialized in the areas of sculpture, bronzes, and the applied arts. The bulk of the collection consists of Middeldorf's research files: clippings and bibliographic notations about the arts, particularly sculpture, drawings, Renaissance medals, and applied arts such as costumes, textiles, furniture, and metalwork.

historian's relations

Roberto Longhi Florence Italy history of Europe Germany Raphael Heinrich Wölfflin Adolph Goldschmidt University of Chicago Humboldt University of Berlin Renaissance Society University of Giessen Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Christian Daniel Rauch United States of America Trecento cinquecento art history Northern Europe Italian Renaissance painting Ulrich of Augsburg

Main works

Middeldorf, U., & Goetz, O. (1944). Medals and Plaquettes from the Sigmund Morgenroth Collection. Chicago: Art Insitute

Middeldorf, U. (1945). Raphael's Drawings. New York: Bittner

Middeldorf, U. (1964). Die Dossi in Rom. Berlin

Middeldorf, U. (1968). Ulrich Middeldorf bibliographie 1923 - 1967. Berlin: De Gruyter

Middeldorf, U., Procacci, U., & Wolfram, P. (1971). Die Sammlung der Selbstbildnisse in den Uffizien. Berlin: Mann

Middeldorf, U. (1973). Alcuni sigilli pisani del Trecento. Firenze: Editrice Edam

Middeldorf, U. (1975). Biblioteca di disegni: twenty-eight volumes of drawings by italian masters from the XVth to the XVIIIth century (3rd ed.), Florence: Alinari

Middeldorf, U. (1978). Due inediti di Thomas Patch. Firenze: L.O. Olschki

Middeldorf, U. (1979-80). Raccolta di scritti, 1924-1979 (3rd ed.). Firenze: SPES

Middeldorf, U. (1976). Sculptures from the Samuel Kress Collection-European Schools 14th - 19th Century. London: Phaidon

Middeldorf, U. (1980). A short critique of art criticism: an essay on method (1944). Studies in iconography, 6, 137-165

Middeldorf, U. (1981). Fifty mortars: a catalogue. Firenze: Studio per edizioni scelte

Middeldorf, U., & Stiebral, D. (1983). Renaissance medals and plaquettes. Florence: Studio per Ed. Scelte

Middeldorf, U. (1983). Raphael and the ruins of Rome: the poetic dimension: in memory of Ulrich Middeldorf 1901 - 1983. Urbana-Champaign

About the scholar

Festschrift für U. M., 1968 (P)

Keutner, H. (1983). Mitt. d. Kunsthist. Inst. Florenz 27, 256-60

Radcliffe, A. (2008). Ulrich Middeldorf (1901 - 1983). Obituaries, 175-179

Radcliffe, A. (1984). Burlington Magazine, 126, 288-90

Roberts, P. L. (2013). Ulrich A. Middeldorf (1901-83) and textiles, The Getty research journal, 5, 189-196

Collareta, M. (2018). Ulrich Middeldorf (1901-1983), curiosità e "connoisseurship". In F. Caglioti, A. De Marchi, & A. Nova (Eds.), I conoscitori tedeschi tra Otto e Novecento. Milano: Officina Libraria, 466-471

Sorensen, L., (Ed.). Middeldorf, Ulrich. In Dictionary of Art Historians


Nachlass Ulrich Middeldorf

Ulrich Middledorf papers