Thomas Whittemore, 1871 – 1950: Touching the Face of God

“…a man whom professional archaeologists and scholars dismissed as a pretentious amateur; and indeed, he had gift for making himself appear to be a charlatan.  …his persuasive powers enabled him to raise funds from rich American ladies, whom he handled with superb artifice….”

That’s Steven Runciman talking about Thomas Whittemore.

It’s about as sharp as Runciman ever gets, and you have to wonder where the D List rating for the poor fellow comes from.  Well, he went to Tufts despite being a Cambridge native for one thing, and he read English literature for another, and indeed, taught English there after graduation.  He sort of fell into the whole art history thing gradually and over time, and teaching both subjects in places like NYU and Columbia before going whole hog into the art side.  Did a little field work in Egypt before the first war, in which war his bit was chiefly humanitarian (French Red Cross) and some relief work in Anatolia, which are helped feed his Byzantine obsession.  Continue reading