Erwin Panofsky


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Noun1.Erwin Panofsky - art historian (1892-1968)
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The history of art is a humanistic discipline." There are certainly many ways to interpret this famous proposition of Erwin Panofsky's, but they all come together, it seems to me, in the assumption-whether optimistic (in keeping with the "humanist" side of Panofsky's proposition) or authoritarian (on the "disciplinary" side)--of a flawless harmony between two words each themselves unfathomable: "history" and "art."(1) In order for the discipline known as "art history" to exist without too much difficulty, it was necessary that the stream Art should flow majestically--as if in the very nature of things--into the river History.
Although he has not received as much critical reevaluation as his successor Erwin Panofsky, Friedlander was instrumental in shaping many modern conceptions of Northern art.
My other choices are just as obvious: Meyer Schapiro, Erwin Panofsky. I read the standard texts.
Interestingly, almost all of the articles on this monumental creation take an iconographic approach, a result perhaps of Erwin Panofsky's continuing influence on English-language scholarship.
Damisch begins his story with an analysis of Erwin Panofsky's famous essay "Perspective as Symbolic Form" (translated by Christopher Wood and published in 1991 by New York's Zone Books).
It is, as Erwin Panofsky has stated in a passage quoted by Peggy Munoz Simonds with apparent approval (24), an area within art history that focuses on "the subject matter or meaning of works of [visual] art, as opposed to their form." Thus all visual configurations, even what literary critics have traditionally called "imagery," have been lumped together under the rubric "iconography." Unsurprisingly, therefore, it is not a methodology that finds favor among post-modernists, who often have regarded iconographic research as looking for rigid meanings or authorial intent--and such reductive scholarship may certainly be found in abundance.
While the formal preoccupations of a Heinrich Wolfflin could be transferred easily enough to the art of the 19th and 20th centuries, this was not the case with Aby Warburg's or Erwin Panofsky's systematic parsing of traditional subject matter.
In the end we can certainly now better appreciate the complexity - and as well the innate ambiguity - of various contexts and interpretations potentially applicable, even by the most well-informed Cinquecento connoisseurs, to Bronzino's diversely fraudulent "Sphinx." For all of its diversity of applications, Bronzino's Fraud certainly remains what Erwin Panofsky dubbed it over half a century ago, namely, "the most sophisticated symbol of perverted duplicity ever devised by an artist, yet curiously [but scarcely so!] it is a symbol not rapidly seized upon by the modern observer."(63) One hopes with the preceding to have indicated some of the erudite, and evidently pleasurable, perplexity inherently attached by a representative Cinquecento cognoscento to Bronzino's recondite motif.
Gombrich (1945, 1970), Edgard Wind (1958, 1968) and Erwin Panofsky (1960, 1969) turned to contemporary Renaissance Platonism, principally that of Marsilio Ficino, as the source of the philosophical and theological ideas the painting seemed to convey.
For those German scholars who emigrated to the United States, such as Erwin Panofsky, another paradox emerged: they found themselves in an academy that was beginning to revere culture in much the same way as the Germans had traditionally done.
Author Erwin Panofsky started by giving his readers an understanding of iconography which is concerned with the study of subject matter or meaning or massages of art work as opposed to their form.
The eminent art historian Erwin Panofsky had already put it bluntly in 1936: