Aby Warburg and the Image in Motion

Overview

Aby Warburg (1866-1929) is best known as the originator of the discipline of iconology and as the founder of the institute that bears his name. His followers included some of the celebrated art historians of the twentieth century such as Erwin Panofsky, Edgar Wind, and Fritz Saxl. But his heirs developed, for the most part, a domesticated iconology based on the decipherment and interpretation of symbolic material. As Philippe-Alain Michaud demonstrates in this important book, Warburg's project was remote from any...
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Overview

Aby Warburg (1866-1929) is best known as the originator of the discipline of iconology and as the founder of the institute that bears his name. His followers included some of the celebrated art historians of the twentieth century such as Erwin Panofsky, Edgar Wind, and Fritz Saxl. But his heirs developed, for the most part, a domesticated iconology based on the decipherment and interpretation of symbolic material. As Philippe-Alain Michaud demonstrates in this important book, Warburg's project was remote from any positivist or neo-Kantian ambitions. Nourished on the work of Friedrich Nietzsche and Jacob Burckhardt, Warburg fashioned a "critical iconology" to reveal the irrationality of the image in Western culture.

Opposing the grand teleological narratives of art inaugurated by Giorgio Vasari, Warburg's method operated through historical anachronisms and discontinuities. Using procedures of "montage-collision" he brought together pagan artifacts with masterpieces of Florentine Renaissance art, the astrology of the ancient Near East with the Lutheran Reformation, Mannerist festivals with the sacred dances of Native Americans. Michaud insists that for Warburg, the practice of art history was not only the recognition of the radical heterogeneity of objects but the discovery within the art work itself of lines of fracture, contradictions, tensions, and the energies of magic, empathy, totemism, and animism. Challenging normative accounts of Western European classicism, Warburg located the real sources of the Renaissance in the Dionysian spirit, in the expression of movement and dance, in the experience of trance personified in the frenzied nymph or ecstatic maenad. Michaud provides us with a book not only about Warburg but one that extends his intuitions and discoveries into analyses of other categories of imagery like the Daguerreotype, the chronophotography of Etienne-Jules Marey, early cinema, and the dances of Loie Fuller. This edition also includes a foreword by Georges Didi-Huberman and texts by Warburg not previously translated into English.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Aby Warburg and the Image in Motion frames the work of its subject with a deft intelligence." Thomas Crow Bookforum

Zone Books

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781890951399
  • Publisher: Zone Books
  • Publication date: 3/2/2004
  • Pages: 382
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Philippe-Alain Michaud is the Film Curator at the Musée national d'art moderne-Centre
Georges-Pompidou and the author of Le Peuple des images.
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Table of Contents

Foreword : knowledge : movement (The man who spoke to butterflies) 7
Acknowledgments 21
Chronology 23
Introduction 27
I New York : the movie set 41
II Florence I : bodies in motion 67
III Florence II : the painted space 93
IV Florence III : the theatrical stage 147
V Among the Hopi 171
VI Hamburg : the art history scene 229
App. I Zwischenreich : Mnemosyne, or expressivity without a subject 251
App. II Crossing the frontiers : Mnemosyne between art history and Cinema 277
App. III Memories of a journey : through the Pueblo Region 293
App. IV On planned American visit (1927) 331
Notes 337
Index 391
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