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Aby Warburg Seminar. The Afterlife of Classical Antiquity in the Italian Renaissance #2

Second meeting. Edgar Wind and R. B. Kitaj: Art and Anarchy – Dr. Ben Thomas

This regular seminar and reading group is devoted to the work of Aby Warburg (1866–1929), a prominent German art historian and cultural theorist who founded the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg, which later become the Warburg Institute. A lover of Italian art and culture, he called himself: “Amburghese di cuore, ebreo di sangue, d’anima fiorentino” (“Hamburger at heart, Jew by blood, Florentine in spirit”).

The main concern of his research was the afterlife of Classical Antiquity in the Italian Renaissance, particularly in Florence, where he spent part of his life. With this purpose, he coined a series of concepts – i.e. Nachleben and Pathosformel – and theories – i.e. the theory of social memory – opening up an authentic new path of investigation in the study of art history and images. Warburg’s major contribution was the study of Florentine art and cultural memory. In this sense, as Gombrich states: “A historian who inscribed the word MNHMOΣYNH, ‘Memory’, over the entrance to his creation demands and deserves to remain accessible to the memory of those whom he benefitted”.

Participants will engage with some of Warburg’s key texts, projects and ideas that have shaped his thought and library. This will enable attendees to estimate his impact on the study of images, in particular, and Italian culture, in general, as well as his relevance in today art history.

The reading group is open to all and free of charge. If you would like to attend, please email Fabio Tononi:
Participants will be provided with extracts in advance, by email.
For more information and the full programme please download the Reading Group flyer.


The Aby Warburg Reading Group is organised by:
Katia Pizzi (Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in London)
Fabio Tononi (PhD candidate, The Warburg Institute)
Gemma Cornetti (PhD candidate, The Warburg Institute)

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