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ARTISTIC SURVIVAL: Panofsky vs. Warburg and the Exorcism of Impure Time

ARTISTIC SURVIVAL: Panofsky vs. Warburg and the Exorcism of Impure Time Page 273 ARTISTIC SURVIVAL Panofsky vs. Warburg and the Exorcism of Impure Time Georges Translated by Vivian Rehberg and Boris Belay “Survival” is the central concept, the Hauptproblem, of Aby Warburg and the Warburgian school of art history. In Warburg’s work, the term Nachleben refers to the survival (the continuity or afterlife and metamorphosis) of images and motifs — as opposed to their renascence after extinction or, conversely, their replacement by innovations in image and motif. Almost every section of Warburg’s Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek opens with a collection of documents related to artistic survivals, the concept was so fundamental to the structure of his thinking. Formed within the context of Renaissance studies — a field associated by definition with revival and innovation —Warburg’s concept of survival assumed a temporal model for art history radically different from any employed at the time. He thereby introduced the problem of memory into the longue durée of the history of motifs and images: a problem that (as Warburg himself observed) transcends turning points in historiography and boundaries between cultures. Warburg’s idea of afterlife or survival differed widely even from that of Anton Springer. Warburg’s model presupposed a way — a decidedly anthropological way http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

ARTISTIC SURVIVAL: Panofsky vs. Warburg and the Exorcism of Impure Time

Common Knowledge , Volume 9 (2) – Apr 1, 2003

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2003 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-9-2-273
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Page 273 ARTISTIC SURVIVAL Panofsky vs. Warburg and the Exorcism of Impure Time Georges Translated by Vivian Rehberg and Boris Belay “Survival” is the central concept, the Hauptproblem, of Aby Warburg and the Warburgian school of art history. In Warburg’s work, the term Nachleben refers to the survival (the continuity or afterlife and metamorphosis) of images and motifs — as opposed to their renascence after extinction or, conversely, their replacement by innovations in image and motif. Almost every section of Warburg’s Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek opens with a collection of documents related to artistic survivals, the concept was so fundamental to the structure of his thinking. Formed within the context of Renaissance studies — a field associated by definition with revival and innovation —Warburg’s concept of survival assumed a temporal model for art history radically different from any employed at the time. He thereby introduced the problem of memory into the longue durée of the history of motifs and images: a problem that (as Warburg himself observed) transcends turning points in historiography and boundaries between cultures. Warburg’s idea of afterlife or survival differed widely even from that of Anton Springer. Warburg’s model presupposed a way — a decidedly anthropological way

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2003

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