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Sydney Joseph Freedberg Edit Profile

educator , art historian , author

Sydney Freedberg was a museum curator and professor of fine arts, who gained acclaim in the field of art history through his studies of the Italian Renaissance.


Sydney Freedberg was born on November 11, 1914 in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. He was the son of Samuel Freedberg and Lillian (Michelson) Freedberg.


Sydney attained Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936, graduating from Harvard College. Three years later he received Master of Arts degree. In 1940 Freedberg became Doctor of Philosophy.


After the World War II, Freedberg began his career as an educator at Wellesley College, where he served until 1954, when Sydney started to work at Harvard University as an associate professor. For nearly thirty years he remained at Harvard and also served as an adviser to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Upon his retirement from teaching in 1983, Sydney was appointed a chief curator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, District of Columbia, United States. He held this position till 1988. Sydney also worked as the Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Fine Arts at Harvard University.

Freedberg served as a national vice chairman of the Committee to Rescue Italian Art since 1966 to 1974.

In 1987 Sydney started to serve on the Advisory Council to the Vatican Museums for the Sistine Chapel Restoration, working as its president from 1990 to 1993.


  • Sydney Freedberg was best known for his exhaustive survey titled "Painting in Italy: 1500-1600" first published in 1971.

    During his lifetime, Freedberg received many honorable awards, such as Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Order of the British Empire and National Medal of Arts.


Sydney was a member of the following organizations: Guggenheim Foundation, Phi Beta Kappa, Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna etc.

  • founding member

    Save Venice , Italy



Sydney married Anne Blake on January 15, 1942. Their marriage didn't exist too long and the couple divorced in 1950. They had one child: William Blake.

On April 10, 1954 he married Susan Pulitzer. His second wife died in June 1965. Freedberg had two children from the second marriage: Kate Pulitzer and Nathaniel Davis.

On June 24, 1967 Sydney married Catherine Blanton. The couple had one child: Sydney Joseph.

Samuel Freedberg

Lillian (Michelson) Freedberg

William Blake

Kate Pulitzer

Nathaniel Davis

Sydney Joseph

first wife:
Anne Blake

second wife:
Susan Pulitzer

third wife:
Catherine Blanton