The Last Amateur: The Life of William J. Stillman

The Last Amateur: The Life of William J. Stillman

by Stephen L. Dyson


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The authoritative biography of a nineteenth-century polymath.

This fascinating biography tells the story of William J. Stillman (1828–1901), a nineteenth-century polymath. Born and raised in Schenectady, New York, Stillman attended Union College and began his career as a Hudson River School painter after an apprenticeship with Frederic Edwin Church. In the 1850s, he was editor of The Crayon, the most important journal of art criticism in antebellum America. Later, after a stint as an explorer-promoter of the Adirondacks, he became the American consul in Rome during the Civil War. When his diplomatic career brought him to Crete, he developed an interest in archaeology and later produced photographs of the Acropolis, for which he is best known today. In yet another career switch, Stillman became a journalist, serving as a correspondent for The Times of London in Rome and the Balkans. In 1871, he married his second wife, Marie Spartali, a Pre-Raphaelite painter, and continued to write about history and art until his death. One of the later products of the American Enlightenment, he lived a life that intersected with many strands of American and European culture. Stillman can indeed be called “the last amateur.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781438452616
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 10/01/2014
Pages: 390
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Stephen L. Dyson is Park Professor of Classics at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York. He is the author of several books, including Rome: A Living Portrait of an Ancient City.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. A Schenectady Youth

2. The Making of an Artist and a Critic

3. Artist, Intellectual, Editor

4. From Editor to Consul

5. The Consular Years

6. The Cretan Years

7. The Photographer of Athens

8. Cultural Journalist

9. Archaeologist

10. Tragedy and Renewal

11. Reporter for The Times

12. The Return to Rome

13. The Final Years

Archival Sources

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