Otto Brendel  

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""The famous dictum "Deus est sphaera intelligibilis cuius centrum ubique circumferentia musquam" which probably goes back to Alain de Lille, seems to have been the intermediary as well as the most important formulation of all these concepts. The successors of Alain were indeed illustrious: The successors of Alain were indeed illustrious : Bonaventura, Thomas Aquinas, Meister Eckhart and Seuse, Cusanus, Marsilio Ficino; and finally Rabelais and Pascal."" --Symbolism of the Sphere (1977) by Otto Brendel

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Otto Johannes Brendel (October 10, 1901 in Erlangen, Germany – October 8, 1973 in New York City) was a German art historian and scholar of Etruscan art and archaeology.

In 1928, he received his Ph.D. from the Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg under Ludwig Curtius on the topic of Roman iconography of the Augustan period. While at Heidelberg, Brendel studied with many notable scholars, including Franz Boll, Alfred von Domaszewski, Friedrich Karl von Duhn, Richard Carl Meister, Eugen Täubler, the literary theorist Ernst Robert Curtius, Friedrich Gundolf, Karl Jaspers, and the classical art historians Karl Lehmann and Friedrich Zimmer. He emigrated to the United States in 1938.

In the United States, he taught at Washington University in St. Louis from 1938 to 1941 and Indiana University from 1941 to 1956. From 1949 to 1951, Brendel was at the American Academy in Rome, first under a Prix de Rome and then with a Fulbright Fellowship. In 1956, he became Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, and became emeritus in 1963, continuing to teach until his retirement in June 1973. He died that September. At the time of his death he had written the manuscript for the Pelican History of Art volume on Etruscan Art. It was completed posthumously by Emeline Hill Richardson, and published in 1978. Otto's wife Maria arranged to have many of his unfinished works published after his death.

One of Brendel's students was Larissa Bonfante. Brendel married Maria Weigert Brendel (1902-1994) in 1929. Brendel's daughter Cornelia Brendel Foss was married to American composer Lukas Foss.



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