By Christopher D. Johnson
The paintings of German cultural theorist and artwork historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929) has had an enduring impression on how we predict approximately photographs. This booklet is the 1st in English to target his final undertaking, the encyclopedic Atlas of pictures: Mnemosyne. started in earnest in 1927, and left unfinished on the time of Warburg's dying in 1929, the Mnemosyne-Atlas consisted of sixty-three huge wood panels coated with black textile. On those panels Warburg rigorously, intuitively prepared a few thousand black-and-white photos of classical and Renaissance artwork gadgets, in addition to of astrological and astronomical pictures starting from historical Babylon to Weimar Germany. right here and there, he additionally integrated maps, manuscript pages, and modern photographs taken from newspapers. attempting via those constellations of pictures to make noticeable the various polarities that fueled antiquity's afterlife, Warburg estimated the Mnemosyne-Atlas as an important kind of metaphoric thought.
While the nondiscursive, usually digressive personality of the Mnemosyne-Atlas complicates any linear narrative of its subject matters and contents, Christopher D. Johnson strains a number of thematic sequences within the panels. by way of drawing on Warburg's released and unpublished writings and through getting to Warburg's cardinal concept that "pathos formulation" constitution the West's cultural reminiscence, Johnson maps various tensions among observe and snapshot within the Mnemosyne-Atlas. as well as reading the paintings itself, he considers the literary, philosophical, and intellectual-historical implications of the Mnemosyne-Atlas. As Johnson demonstrates, the Mnemosyne-Atlas isn't easily the fruits of Warburg’s lifelong learn of Renaissance tradition however the final expression of his now literal, now metaphoric look for syncretic recommendations to the pressing difficulties posed via the historical past of artwork and culture.
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