By Christopher D. Johnson
The paintings of German cultural theorist and paintings historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929) has had a long-lasting impression on how we predict approximately pictures. This booklet is the 1st in English to target his final venture, the encyclopedic Atlas of pictures: Mnemosyne. began 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 conscientiously, intuitively prepared a few thousand black-and-white images of classical and Renaissance paintings items, in addition to of astrological and astronomical photos starting from historic Babylon to Weimar Germany. right here and there, he additionally integrated maps, manuscript pages, and modern pictures taken from newspapers. making an attempt via those constellations of pictures to make seen the numerous polarities that fueled antiquity's afterlife, Warburg estimated the Mnemosyne-Atlas as an essential type of metaphoric thought.
While the nondiscursive, often digressive personality of the Mnemosyne-Atlas complicates any linear narrative of its topics and contents, Christopher D. Johnson lines numerous thematic sequences within the panels. via drawing on Warburg's released and unpublished writings and through getting to Warburg's cardinal concept that "pathos formulation" constitution the West's cultural reminiscence, Johnson maps quite a few tensions among be aware and photograph within the Mnemosyne-Atlas. as well as analyzing 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 research of Renaissance tradition however the final expression of his now literal, now metaphoric look for syncretic ideas to the pressing difficulties posed through the historical past of artwork and culture.
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