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Bildatlas, åskådning och reproduktion. Aby Warburgs Mnemosyne-atlas och visualiseringen av konsthistoria kring 1800/1900

Sprung, Joacim LU (2011)
Abstract
The dissertation explores the relationship between Aby Warburg’s unfinished picture atlas Mnemosyne and the visualization of Art History around 1800/1900 in an attempt to understand the historical conditions regarding the picture atlas and other visual devices constructed by Warburg and his staff at the Kulturwissenschaftlichen Bibliothek Warburg (K.B.W.) in Hamburg during the 1920s. The dissertation argues that the Mnemosyne-Atlas is better understood, as an object, from an Art historiographical perspective that puts emphasis on Art history's disciplinary formation, visual-didactical and technical repertoire than through a strict internal or formal reading.

Warburg’s unfinished picture atlas is often described as an expression... (More)
The dissertation explores the relationship between Aby Warburg’s unfinished picture atlas Mnemosyne and the visualization of Art History around 1800/1900 in an attempt to understand the historical conditions regarding the picture atlas and other visual devices constructed by Warburg and his staff at the Kulturwissenschaftlichen Bibliothek Warburg (K.B.W.) in Hamburg during the 1920s. The dissertation argues that the Mnemosyne-Atlas is better understood, as an object, from an Art historiographical perspective that puts emphasis on Art history's disciplinary formation, visual-didactical and technical repertoire than through a strict internal or formal reading.

Warburg’s unfinished picture atlas is often described as an expression of an idiosyncratic persona who intended to pursue an “Art History without words”. The dissertation intends to normalize this vague reading through an examination of archival documents and by situating the atlas project within a historical context that takes account of visual aids used by Art historians around the turn of the last century. The Mnemosyne-atlas is thus discussed in relation to the genre of the Art historical picture-atlas, the history of visual education (Anschauungsunterricht), autopsy vs. heteropsy, skioptikon- and epidiascopic presentation technology, and the Art historical discourse regarding reproductions as an “objective” research instrument and as a “comfortable” surrogate for the physical art work.

By describing and discussing the Mnemosyne-Atlas, but also other visual and educational devices by the K.B.W., as part of a visual-didactical tradition and milieu which were dependent on modernity’s emerging visual content industry and an economically viable reproductive technology, the dissertation claims that Warburg and the K.B.W.'s visual apparatuses to a significant degree was not an unique or an individual endeavour but a collaborative project within a wider thought-collective (Denkollektiv). Furthermore the visual, presentational and educational devices can be regarded as a normal scientific image-practice for Art historians who at the time were extremely preoccupied with comparative analysis, typology, visual evidence and knowledge conveyed through the combination of texts and various visual aids. Warburg and the K.B.W.’s visual devices are therefore situated in a broad context which puts forth a wider understanding of the Mnemosyne-atlas and other image-series’ (Bilderreihen) presentational-technological descent and as induced by reproduction technology and its discourse around 1800/1900. The widespread reading of an “Art history without words” can therefore, according to the dissertation, be considered as an unintentional reception and consequence by Warburg and the K.B.W.



Supervisors: Lektor Carsten Juhl (The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen) and Lektor Jens Toft (IKK, Copenhagen University). (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Associate Prof Linnet, Ragni, Copenhagen University, Div. of Art History and Visual Culture
  • Dean of research Dam Christensen, Hans, The Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen
  • Associate Prof. Bäcklund, Jan, The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen
alternative title
Picture Atlas, Visual Education and Reproduction. Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne-Atlas and the Visualization of Art History around 1800/1900
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
historiography, Art History, picture atlas, visual education, The Warburg Institute, Kulturwissenschaftlichen Bibliothek Warburg, Mnemosyne, Fritz Saxl, Aby Warburg
publisher
Copenhagen University & Lund University
defense location
Festsalen, The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen
defense date
2011-11-03 13:17
language
Swedish
LU publication?
no
id
d920492d-bc77-4f9b-9b23-7bc553eacfec (old id 3406255)
date added to LUP
2013-09-27 14:19:29
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:13
@misc{d920492d-bc77-4f9b-9b23-7bc553eacfec,
  abstract     = {The dissertation explores the relationship between Aby Warburg’s unfinished picture atlas Mnemosyne and the visualization of Art History around 1800/1900 in an attempt to understand the historical conditions regarding the picture atlas and other visual devices constructed by Warburg and his staff at the Kulturwissenschaftlichen Bibliothek Warburg (K.B.W.) in Hamburg during the 1920s. The dissertation argues that the Mnemosyne-Atlas is better understood, as an object, from an Art historiographical perspective that puts emphasis on Art history's disciplinary formation, visual-didactical and technical repertoire than through a strict internal or formal reading. <br/><br>
	Warburg’s unfinished picture atlas is often described as an expression of an idiosyncratic persona who intended to pursue an “Art History without words”. The dissertation intends to normalize this vague reading through an examination of archival documents and by situating the atlas project within a historical context that takes account of visual aids used by Art historians around the turn of the last century. The Mnemosyne-atlas is thus discussed in relation to the genre of the Art historical picture-atlas, the history of visual education (Anschauungsunterricht), autopsy vs. heteropsy, skioptikon- and epidiascopic presentation technology, and the Art historical discourse regarding reproductions as an “objective” research instrument and as a “comfortable” surrogate for the physical art work. <br/><br>
	By describing and discussing the Mnemosyne-Atlas, but also other visual and educational devices by the K.B.W., as part of a visual-didactical tradition and milieu which were dependent on modernity’s emerging visual content industry and an economically viable reproductive technology, the dissertation claims that Warburg and the K.B.W.'s visual apparatuses to a significant degree was not an unique or an individual endeavour but a collaborative project within a wider thought-collective (Denkollektiv). Furthermore the visual, presentational and educational devices can be regarded as a normal scientific image-practice for Art historians who at the time were extremely preoccupied with comparative analysis, typology, visual evidence and knowledge conveyed through the combination of texts and various visual aids. Warburg and the K.B.W.’s visual devices are therefore situated in a broad context which puts forth a wider understanding of the Mnemosyne-atlas and other image-series’ (Bilderreihen) presentational-technological descent and as induced by reproduction technology and its discourse around 1800/1900. The widespread reading of an “Art history without words” can therefore, according to the dissertation, be considered as an unintentional reception and consequence by Warburg and the K.B.W.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Supervisors: Lektor Carsten Juhl (The Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen) and Lektor Jens Toft (IKK, Copenhagen University).},
  author       = {Sprung, Joacim},
  keyword      = {historiography,Art History,picture atlas,visual education,The Warburg Institute,Kulturwissenschaftlichen Bibliothek Warburg,Mnemosyne,Fritz Saxl,Aby Warburg},
  language     = {swe},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0x8a2cfc8)},
  title        = {Bildatlas, åskådning och reproduktion. Aby Warburgs Mnemosyne-atlas och visualiseringen av konsthistoria kring 1800/1900},
  year         = {2011},
}