In Memoriam: Henry A. Millon

April 11, 2018
Three decades of Academy Directors in May 1994. From left: Joseph Connors (1988–92); James Melchert (1984–88); Sophie Consagra (1980–84); Caroline A. Bruzelius (1994–98); John D’Arms (1977–80); and Henry A. Millon (1974–77)
Henry Millon delivers a welcome speech to the members of the 1974 Summer Session in Rome (photograph provided by the Institutional Archive of the American Academy in Rome)
Henry Millon (third from left) in Gordion, the capital city of ancient Phrygia (now in Turkey)
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Henry A. Millon, dean emeritus of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (CASVA) at the National Gallery of Art, died on April 2, 2018. He was 91 years old. Millon was a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome in 1960, a Resident in 1966, Director from 1974 to 1977, and a Trustee from 1977 to 1994. He was subsequently made a Trustee Emeritus. 

Millon was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1927. He earned undergraduate degrees at Tulane University in English, physics, and architecture before attending Harvard University, where he received a master’s degree in architecture and urban design and an MA and PhD in art history. Millon was a professor of art and architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1960 to 1980; he also taught and lectured at Pennsylvania State University, Brown University, Harvard University, and the Boston Architectural Center, among other institutions. After his stint at the Academy as Director, he became the founding dean of CASVA, which he led from 1979 to 2000.

Millon’s first two books were Baroque and Rococo Architecture (1961) and Key Monuments of the History of Architecture (1964), yet he was more prolific as an editor. Among his collections are Art and Architecture in the Service of Politics with Linda Nochlin (1978); An Architectural Progress in the Renaissance and Baroque: Sojourns in and Out of Italy with Susan Scott Munshower (1992); Circa 1700: Architecture in Europe and the Americas (2005); and Guarino Guarini with Giuseppe Dardanello and Susan Klaiber (2006). Millon also edited Studies in Italian Art and Architecture, 15th through 18th centuries (1980), one volume in the Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome series.

Millon organized three major exhibitions for the National Gallery of Art and oversaw their catalogues. The first was Michelangelo: Draftsman/Architect (1988), which was accompanied by a book, Michelangelo Architect: The Façade of San Lorenzo and the Drum and Dome of St. Peter’s, authored with Craig Hugh Smyth. Six years later Millon produced Italian Renaissance Architecture, variations of which were also seen in Venice, Paris, and Berlin. Millon and Vittoria Magnago Lampugnani edited its catalogue, titled The Renaissance from Brunelleschi to Michelangelo: The Representation of Architecture (1994). The third exhibition, The Triumph of the Baroque: Architecture in Europe 1600–1750, boasted more than 500,000 visitors in Washington, DC, and was declared by Apollo to be the magazine’s exhibition of the year for 1999. The Triumph of the Baroque traveled to museums in Turin, Montreal, and Marseille.

Millon earned grants and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Institute of Architects, the College Art Association, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Getty Research Institute, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was also a Senior Fulbright scholar. Millon’s service to the field ran deep—he was president of the Society of Architectural Historians, vice chair of the Council on American Overseas Research Centers, and president of the International Union of Academies of Archaeology, History, and History of Art in Rome, to name just three.