Szczęsny Dettloff (1878–1961)
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Szczęsny Dettloff (1878–1961) left impressive research achievements and had noteworthy didactic successes, which resulted from his special involvement in scholarly activity. He was a paragon of a morally and politically uncompromising academic teacher, whose life course was marked out by his Polish patriotism and Catholic clergymen ethics. Priest Dettloff’s resumé, as founder of the art history department and the first Poznan professor of art history, is replete with dramatic events, due to the fact that during World War II he was arrested by the Nazis; it was only the intercession of Karl Heinz Clasen, the German art historian, that saved his life. During the Stalinist period, Dettloff was removed from art history department at Poznan University, where he returned in 1956. During his studies in Vienna, Dettloff became acquainted with the methodology of the older Viennese school; Dettloff was a Ph.D. student of Max Dvořak, under whose supervision he defended his Ph.D. thesis entitled Der Entwurf von 1488 zum Sebaldusgrab in 1914. During the inter–war period, he preferred using the Alois Riegl method in his work, which was expressed by emphasis on the stylistic analysis of an examined work of art and the use of genetic and comparative methods. In most of his mature work, however, in which he attempted to interpret the core art of Veit Stoss, he made clear references to the methodology of Max Dvořak, perceiving art history as history of ideas (Kunstgeschichte als Geistesgeschichte).