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Dreamland of HumanistsWarburg, Cassirer, Panofsky, and the Hamburg School$
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Emily J. Levine

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226061689

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226061719.001.0001

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Iconology and the Hamburg School

Iconology and the Hamburg School

(p.148) Six Iconology and the Hamburg School
Dreamland of Humanists

Emily J. Levine

University of Chicago Press

The sixth chapter argues that Panofsky forged a “third way” between the formalist and contextualist approaches of his art historical mentors, Wölfflin and Riegl. Influenced by Warburg’s early work, Panofsky’s methodology solidified around these scholars’ shared interests in symbols and drew on Hamburg’s combined resources: the library’s unique index of images, the Kunsthalle’s collection of local and modernist art, and the absence of an established and hierarchical department. To connect a particular insight with a more general principle, Panofsky and the Hamburg School promoted iconology—a holistic approach to analyzing images over time. While Ernst Gombrich would later criticize the cultural-historical assumption that art is representative of the Zeitgeist, this chapter argues that understanding Panofsky’s early work as a revision of Riegl’s notion of Kunstwollen and his engagement with Cassirer’s symbolic forms offers a more complete view of iconology’s origins.

Keywords:   art history, iconology, Hamburg School, Panofsky, contextualism, formalism, Wölfflin, Riegl, Kunstwollen, Ernst Gombrich

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