Ernst H. Gombrich, historian and philosopher of art, will teach here in the spring, Leonard Opdycke '17, chairman of the Fine Arts Department, announced yesterday.
Gombrich, Durning Lawrence Professor of the History of Art at London University, will give a middle-group course on the history of style. He will also give a graduate seminar on Giorgo Vasari, 16th century Italian painter and architect.
Opdycke also disclosed that John P. Coolidge '35, professor of Fine Arts, would take a leave of absence next semester.
Faculty in the Fine Arts Department expressed enthusiasm at Gombrich's appointment. Seymour Slive, associate professor of Fine Arts, declared yesterday that Gombrich's dual role of historian and philisopher meant that "his voice carries special weight."
Slive believed that Gombrich's undergraduate course would "study the various ways that style is used as a concept."
He is very much concerned with "the effect on art of ideas, literature and psychology," explained Slive. "In addition, Gombrich has a distinct talent for communicating to broad audiences." Slive praised his Story of Art as "the best introductory book" in the field.
Frederick B. Deknatel, William Dorr Boardman Professor of Fine Arts, stressed Gombrich's position as a Renaissance expert. "No one in the world," said Deknatel, "has his particular combination of qualifications."
Born in Vienna, Gombrich is a British citizen and a member of the Warburg Institute of London. In 1956, he gave the Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.
Gombrich has taught at Columbia University, as well as at Harvard Summer School. He is considered a special authority on the Renaissance painter, Julio Romano.
The London University art historian and philospher has not yet announced his date of arrival nor the place where he will reside during his stay in Cambridge.
Other members of the Art Department could not be reached for comment when the Crimson learned of the appointment yesterday. University officials are enthusiastic about the appointment.