Italian art historian Federico Zeri died on monday October 5th from a heart attack in his country home of Mentana near Rome at 77. Zeri who was admired for his immense knowledged and often detested because of his provocative stands. He had a special interest in the explanation of works through history and literature.
As an art critic Zeri was a star and a great researcher who was interested in many periods in the history of Italian art, notably paintings from the 13th and 14th Century. His interest also spanned to cinema and cooking and he kept working intensively until his death.
Zeri had a coveted library of some 100,000 art books and archives which included one million photographies. All these have been donated with his country house to the University of Bologna.
He published hundreds of essays on art and numerous books and as an expert he detected many fakes. He also acted as a specialist of the art market and the movement of works of art throughout the world. Zeri often worked with major U.S institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York for which he published the catalogue of Italian paintings exhibited in the museum and the Getty Museum of Los Angeles.
Member of the board of trustees of that Museum he resigned from his post after claiming that the famous Kouros sculpture the museum had acquired was a fake. The Getty later admitted that blunder and has been exhibiting the work among those classified as fakes.