Jurgis Baltrušaitis (art historian)  

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Jurgis Baltrušaitis (May 7, 1903 – January 25, 1988) was a Lithuanian art historian, art critic and a founder of comparative art research. He was the son of the poet and diplomat Jurgis Baltrušaitis. Most of his works were written in French, although he always stressed his Lithuanian origin. After Lithuania was occupied by the USSR in 1945, he served as a diplomat in exile.



During his childhood he was immersed in the intense cultural life of his parents. One of his first teachers was the Russian poet and writer Boris Pasternak.

In 1924 he moved to Paris and began theater studies at the Sorbonne under the guidance of Professor Henri Focillon. Under his influence Baltrušaitis chose to study the history of art. He went on to do research in Armenia, Georgia, Spain, Italy, and Germany, receiving a doctorate from the Sorbonne in 1931. Later that year he became the cultural attache at the Lithuanian Legation in Paris.

Between 1933 and 1939 Baltrušaitis taught art history at the University of Kaunas, as well as lecturing at the Sorbonne and at the Warburg Institute in London.

After World War II he delivered lectures at New York University, Yale University, Harvard University, and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

His diplomatic efforts included writing for the French press on Lithuanian issues, and representing Lithuania in international organizations such as the Academie Internationale des Sciences et des Lettres and the Lithuanian Legation in Paris.


  • Le Moyen-Âge fantastique. Antiquités et exotismes dans l'art gothique, 1955
  • Reveils et Prodiges Le Gothique Fantastique, 1960
  • La quête d'Isis
  • En Busca de Isis
  • Formations, déformations: La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (Idées et recherches)
  • Réveils et prodiges. Les métamorphoses du gothique
  • Lithuanian folk art [microform] (Lithuania, country and nation, 3), 1948
  • Le miroir: Essai sur une légende scientifique : révélations, science-fiction et fallacies
  • Anamorphic art
  • Aberrations: Quatre Essais sur La Legende des Formes
  • Les perspectives depravees - anamorphoses ou thaumaturgus, 1955


Algirdas Julius Greimas once noted that in the West the elder Jurgis Baltrušaitis is known as the father of a famous art historian, but in Eastern Europe - the younger Jurgis Baltrušaitis is known as the son of a famous poet.


Jurgis Baltrušaitis. Encyclopedia Lituanica I: 271-272. (1970-1978). Ed. Simas Sužiedėlis. Boston, Massachusetts: Juozas Kapočius. LCC 74-114275.

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