Bernard Berenson was born in a small village outside of Vilnius
. He was considered the world expert on the Renaissance art
. Not when he was born, of course; years later, and until his death in 1959
. When he was quite young, he and his family moved to Boston
He attended Boston University and graduated from Harvard University in 1887, then moved to Europe to study Art History on a fellowship, settling down with a wife at Settignano, Italy in 1900.
His home, the Villa I Tatti, had quite a library, and art collection, and when he died, it was given to Harvard University as part of the will. During his life, it was a gathering place for many intellectuals from abroad. It has been written of him that he had quite a wit, and was rather social.
He worked as an art consultant for private investors such as galleries, museums, and collectors, and because of his fame, became artistic consultant to the British collector and trader Lord Joseph Duveen in 1906.
Despite his specialty, he was also among the first critics to note the incumbent importance of Paul Cézanne and Pierre Auguste Renoir. Most of his works have fallen out of scholarly discourse, yet a number of his early texts still hold historical significance within Italian Renaissance work.
Venetian Painters of the Renaissance (1894)
Lorenzo Lotto (1895)
Florentine Painters of the Renaissance (1896)
Central Italian Painters of the Renaissance (1897)
Drawings of the Florentine Painters (1903)
North Italian Painters of the Renaissance (1907)
Sketch for a Self-Portrait (1949)
Rumor and Reflection (1952)
The Passionate Sightseer (1960)
Sunset and Twilight (1963)
Italian Pictures of the Renaissance (1972)
"Genius is the capacity for productive reaction against one's training." - Bernard Berenson