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Warburg, I believe, felt dissatisfied with the territorialization of the study of images because he was sure of two things at least. First, we do not stand confronted with or before an image the way we do before a thing whose exact boundaries we can trace. The ensemble of definite coordinates—author, date, technique, iconography, etc.

An image, every image, is the result of movements that are provisionally sedimented or crystallized in it. These movements traverse it through and through, each one having its own trajectory—historical, anthropological, and psychological—starting from a distance and continuing beyond it. They oblige us to think of the image as an energy-bearing or dynamic moment , even though it may have a specific structure. This clearly means that the time of the image is not the time of history in general, i.

What, then, is the urgent task he envisages the one that is untimely, not current? By adopting either an unduly materialistic or an unduly mystical stance, our young discipline To follow the organic movement involved here, without omitting anything, would be an overwhelming task. One can at least begin to undertake an epistemological critique of this scope by considering the way or ways in which Warburg goes about initiating movement in and displacing art history.

Once again, we observe that everything involved in this enterprise is a matter of style —whether style of thinking, of making a decision, or of coming to know something; which is to say that is a matter of time, of tempo. In order to do that, he traverses and overturns the traditional domains of art itself. As the Uffizi galleries are no longer enough for him, he decides to immerse himself in the un-hierarchical world of the archives, of the Archvio , with its innumerable private ricordanze , its account books, its notarized wills, and such like.

Looked at from this point of view, which might be called that of ghostly return, the images themselves are considered to be what survives of a dynamic process of anthropological sedimentation that has become partial, or virtual, having been largely destroyed by time. Thus, as a first approximation, the image—starting with those portraits of Florentine bankers that Warburg examined with a particular fervor—is viewed as what survives of a population of ghosts.

This anthropological dissemination obviously calls for a multiplication of points of view, approaches, and competencies. The impressive Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg, in Hamburg, was destined to assume the burden of such an epistemological displacement, a burden demanding infinite patience, and one which was constantly enlarged and altered. In this rhizome-like space, which by contained 65, volumes, art history as an academic discipline underwent an ordeal of regulated disorientation: everywhere that there existed frontiers between disciplines, the library sought to establish links.

Fritz Saxl put it very well when he said that the library was, above all, a space of questions , a place for documenting problems, a complex network at the summit of which—and this is extremely significant for our purposes—stood the question of time and of history.

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This helps us understand how a library conceived in this manner was able to produce its displacement effects. How was one to go about organizing interdisciplinarity? That presupposed, once again, the difficult encounter of philological cogwheels and philosophical grains of sand. At the same time, however, an enterprise of this kind generated what might be called an aporetic situation. In the beginning, it involved one person and one universe of questions.

And, as one can still verify today, wandering among the bookshelves at the Warburg Institute in London, one has a very strange feeling using a working tool that clearly bears the mark of its builder. It is undeniable, however, that this kind of strangeness carries with it something like the stigmata of an aporia: Warburg multiplied the links between the fields of knowledge, that is to say, between the possible responses to the insane overdetermination of images. And with respect to this multiplication, he probably dreamed of not choosing, of postponing, of cutting nothing out, of taking the time to take everything into account—surely a kind of insanity.

How does one orient oneself in the midst of this knot of problems? There is another way of posing the question, of displacing things.


Another style, another tempo. It is to proceed along the edges of an issue, to act by impulse. It is to bifurcate, to branch off all of a sudden, to no longer put anything off. It is to directly confront the differences involved in the matter. It is to start out, as it were, at ground level. Not that the Archivio or the library are pure abstractions, floating above the terrain. To the contrary, these treasure houses of knowledge and civilization bring together a great number of different strata, and one can, in fact, follow their movements in the terrain , from one archive to another, from one field of knowledge to another.

But to bifurcate is something else: it means moving towards the terrain , traversing the ground, and accepting the existential ordeal provoked by the questions one raises. What sort of object, then, did Warburg encounter in the course of this experience? Something that, in , probably still remained unnamed. Something that was an image but also an act i.

A pile of snakes—the very thing that actually was swarming in the Oraibi ritual, and the very thing that shot forth symbolically its celestial lightning strokes Figs. Was he there to establish an analogy with the Renaissance, with its festivals, representations of Apollo and of the serpent Python, and its Dionysian and pagan elements, as Peter Burke thinks?

Or was he perhaps there to carry out a complete reversal of the Western, classical point of view, as Sigrid Weigel contends? The answer must be dialectical. Precisely the fact that it was not an object, but rather a complex of relations —indeed, a pile, a conglomeration, or a rhizome of relations. This is undoubtedly the main reason for the passionate engagement with anthropological questions that Warburg displayed throughout his life.

It was, rather, a matter of multiplying the pertinent singularities. In short, it meant to enlarge the field of admissible phenomena in a discipline whose attention until then had been riveted on its objects—to the detriment of the relationships that these objects establish, and by which they are established—like a fetishist on his shoes. Anthropology, therefore, displaces and defamiliarizes—one might almost say, disquiets—art history.

It is a matter of doing justice to the extreme complexity of the relationships and determinations, or, better, overdeterminations , of which images are constituted. But it is also a matter of offering a new formulation of the specificity of these relationships and of the formal work of which the images themselves are constitutive elements. What he attempted, rather, as his final project, the Mnemosyne Atlas , clearly attests, was to reformulate the problem of style, that problem of linkages and formal efficacy, by always joining the philological study of the singular case with the anthropological approach to the relationships that render these singularities historically and culturally viable.

It would require a whole book to determine precisely what Warburg found in the anthropology of his time that was capable of transforming his attitude as an art historian; for this involves a vast field encompassing specialized ethnographic studies and grand, philosophically-inspired systems. He had approached ancient myths in the same spirit as Warburg was soon to do in his study of Renaissance frescoes, linking philological inquiry—with its emphasis on details, specifics, and singularities—to the most fundamental problems of psychology and anthropology.

For example, in studying the forms of Greek metrics, Usener conceived of the latter as a symptom of overall culture, seeking for survivals up through the period of medieval music; and, reciprocally, he approached acts of belief generally as forms that, in every specific case, had to be addressed with the tools of the philologist. For various reasons—mainly historical reasons, of course, linked to the long years of the two world wars—French scholarship displayed a particular ignorance regarding this German tradition.

As for Warburg, he has been ignored not only by positivist art historians, but also by historians sympathetic to structuralism, even by the best scholars of the Annales school. His way of practicing art history, of opening it up , which is so particular and so radical, has had the effect, it seems to me, of raising anew the questions of historical anthropology—a discipline he conceived of in the form he inherited from Jacob Burckhardt and Hermann Usener—on the basis of an inquiry into the symbolic efficacy of images.

In short, the image should not be dissociated from the overall actions and way of acting agir of the members of a society; nor from the knowledge and ways of thinking [ savoir ] of an epoch; nor, or course, from beliefs and ways of believing [ croire ]. It is one of the prime duties of art history Kunstgeschichte to bring such forms out of the twilight of ideological polemic and to subject them to close historical scrutiny.

For there is one crucial issue in the history of style and civilization eine der Hauptfragen der stilerforschenden Kulturwissenschaft —the influence of antiquity on the culture of Renaissance Europe as a whole—that cannot otherwise be fully understood and resolved. The slippage in the vocabulary is significant: we move from art history Kunstgeschichte to a science of culture Kulturwissenschaft , and this move simultaneously opens up the field of objects to be studied and sharpens the formulation of the fundamental problems.

It was necessary to open up the field of objects capable of interesting the art historian, inasmuch as the work of art was no longer envisaged as an object fully enclosed its own history, but rather as the dynamic point of encounter—Walter Benjamin will later call it the lightning flash —of heterogeneous and over-determined historical factors.

By having the Greek word for memory Mnemosyne engraved in capital letters above the entry door to his library, Warburg indicated to the visitor that he was entering into the territory of another time. It is the fundamental problem, the one for which he gathered all that material in archives and libraries, seeking to understand the sedimentations and shifts that occurred in the many different terrains involved.

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It is also the fundamental problem that Warburg tried to confront, in the brief time he had there, on the terrain itself of his American Indian experience. The theoretical and heuristic function of anthropology—its capacity to de-territorialize the fields of knowledge and to reintroduce difference into objects and anachronism into history—will thereby appear all the more clearly.

This is a significant indication of a citation, of a borrowing, indeed of a conceptual displacement: what is cited by Schlosser, and what before him Warburg had already borrowed, or displaced, is nothing other than the survival of the great British anthropologist Edward B. Frazer, as Saxl wrote, but Edward B. Commentators on Warburg, as far as I can determine, have not really paid much attention to this anthropological source. At most, they have considered only the differences.

Each of them, in fact, aimed at overcoming the virtually never-ending opposition between the model of evolution required by any kind of history and the absence of a temporal dimension that is often attributed to anthropology, an opposition that Levi-Strauss was still criticizing a century later. Warburg opened up the field of art history to anthropology, not only in order to discover in it new objects for study, but in order to open up time to a new approach, as well. Tylor, for his part, wanted to carry out a strictly symmetrical operation. In working to gain an insight into the general laws of intellectual movement [of culture in general], there is practical gain in being able to study them rather among antiquarian relics of no intense modern interest.

Warburg was certainly never to disavow this methodological principle concerning the importance of studying objects devoid of interest at the current moment: what creates meaning in a culture are often its symptomatic, unthought, or anachronistic aspects. Here we are already in what we may call the phantasmic time of survivals. The result will be a kind of temporal knot that is difficult to understand because within it there occur ceaseless intersections of movements tending towards evolution and movements resistant to evolution.

Within the space of these intersections there soon appears, as the differential of two contradictory temporal statuses, the concept of survival. In fact, in his attempts to establish a theoretical foundation for his work, Tylor devoted a major portion of his efforts to this concept. But he had already used the word, as if spontaneously, in another context, and in the midst of another kind of temporal experience: during a displacement , namely on a trip to Mexico. Between March and June , Tylor had scoured Mexico on horseback, making observations and taking thousands of notes.

In he published his travel diaries—his own Tristes tropiques —where there appear, one after the other and seemingly to his own surprise, mosquitoes and pirates, alligators and missionary fathers, slave trading and Aztec vestiges, Baroque churches and Indian costumes, earthquakes and the use of firearms, table manners and ways of counting, museum objects and street fights, etc.

Thus, during the Mexican Holy Week festivals he witnessed a number of heterogeneous commemorations, half-Christian and half-pagan. And at the Indian market in Grande he saw a system of numeration that he had previously thought could be found only in pre-Columbian manuscripts. A further example was the coexistence of ornaments of ancient sacrificial knives with the ornaments on the spurs worn by the Mexican vaqueros Figs.

This vertigo finds expression, first of all, in the powerful sensation that the present is woven from multiple pasts. This is something which is obvious in itself, but its methodological consequences are less so. That is why Tylor thinks that the anthropologist must become the historian of each of his observations. Progress, degradation, survival, revival, modification, are all modes of the connexion that binds together the complex network of civilization.

It needs but a glance into the trivial details of'our own daily life to set us thinking how far we are really its originators, and how far but the transmitters and modifiers of the results of long past ages. Looking round the rooms we live in, we may try here how far he who only knows his own time can be capable of rightly comprehending even that. Transformed, shifted, or mutilated, such elements of art still carry their history plainly stamped upon them; and if the history yet farther behind is less easy to read, we are not to say that because we cannot clearly discern it there is therefore no history there.

It is likewise characteristic that this survival of forms is expressed in terms of an imprint or stamp. To say that the present bears the mark of multiple pasts is above all to assert the indestructibility of the stamp of time—or of several time periods—on the forms themselves of our present life. It is in the recurrent symptom, in games, in the pathology of language, and in the unconsciousness of forms that survival as such is to be found.

He examined the characteristics of language—adages, proverbs, and ways of greeting, just as Warburg later wanted to do for Florentine culture. Most importantly, however, in examining survivals Tyler considered them specifically in terms of superstitions. For him, the very definition of this anthropological concept could be inferred from the traditional Latin meaning of the term superstitio :. Such a proceeding as this would be usually, and not improperly, described as a superstition ; and, indeed, this name would be given to a large proportion of survivals generally.

But the term superstition now implies a reproach…. This passage allows us to understand why the analysis of survivals in Primitive Culture culminates in a long chapter dedicated to magic, astrology, and all the various forms they assumed. How can we fail to recall here that high point of the Nachleben der Antike reconstructed by Warburg in his analysis of the astrological activities found in the Ferrara frescoes and even in the writings of Martin Luther? In both cases—and this is before the work of Freud—it is a split within consciousness, a logical error, or a nonsensical aspect of an argument that opens a breach in the current state of some historically-produced factor, allowing its survivals to appear.

Might the path indicated by the symptom prove to be the best way of hearing the voice of the phantoms? It may perhaps be complained that It is in fact so, and I have taken up this course of argument with full knowledge and intent. For, indeed, we have in such inquiries continual reason to be thankful for fools. It is quite wonderful, even if we hardly go below the surface of the subject, to see how large a share stupidity and impractical conservatism and dogged superstition have had in preserving for us traces of the history of our race, which practical utilitarianism would have remorselessly swept away.

In the domain of the historical and anthropological sciences, the notion of survival, located between those of phantom and symptom, may be considered a specific expression of the trace. In the first place, they referred to a negative reality , namely what appears to be a discarded element in a culture, something which is no longer of its time and no longer of any use. In this respect, the analysis of survivals clearly appears to be a matter of analyzing symptomatic manifestations as much as phantasmal ones.

It must be said, however, that the notion of survival has never had a very good press—and that is true not just in art history. The positivist objection consisted in asking: how do you go about dating a survival? Today, one would more likely accuse survival of being insufficiently structural : a concept, in short, that bears the evolutionist stamp. Accordingly, it is considered outmoded and irrelevant, an old scientistic phantom typical of the 19th century. When one begins to examine the question more closely, however, it becomes obvious that matters are more nuanced and complex than first appeared.

What is really under debate is not the notion itself of survival, but rather the use to which it was put by several late 19th century Anglo-Saxon ethnographers. They have a general sociological value, since they allow us to understand a stage in social evolution. But there is more to them than this: they also have a bearing on social history. Institutions of this type have really provided the transition towards our own forms of law and economy.

They can serve to explain historically our own societies. There is no known society that has not evolved. The most primitive men have an immense past behind them; diffuse tradition and survival therefore play a role even among them.


It, too, is constituted through the play of—or in a knot of—heterogeneous temporal phases: a knot of anachronisms. It is just that this is hard to analyze in the absence of written archives. When Mauss critiques the uses made of the notion of survivals, it is, therefore, not in order to question the appropriateness of employing models of time characterized by this kind of complexity.

On the contrary, it is in order to refute ethnological evolutionism as an over-simplification of the required models of time. Mauss also critiqued, clairvoyantly, what continues to be the other basic trap of any analysis of survivals: one could call it archetypism. It terminates not in the simplification of the models of time, but in their negation, pure and simple, and in their dilution in an essentialist view of culture and of the psyche.

The key element in this trap is the decoy of analogous perception. What we might term symptomatic anamnesis clearly has nothing in common with archetypal generalization. That is because it is more radical but, at the same time, more one-sided and, at times, burdened with inaccuracies and possibly even a hint of bad faith. He begins, following Mauss, by criticizing archetypism and its erroneous use of substantialized analogies and of pseudomorphisms in the service of universalism. The first thing to establish is to what extent, if any, this concept derives from evolutionist doctrine—in terms of both content and of what is at stake.

In short, survivals are only symptoms, bearers of temporal disorientation.

Phidias, Parthenon sculptures

They do bear witness, certainly, to a more original, and repressed, state, but they say nothing concerning evolution itself. They doubtless possess some diagnostic value but have no prognostic value at all. Let us recall, finally, that, according to Tylor, a theory of culture ought no more to be based in biology than in theology.

His theory aimed rather at an historical and philological point of view, which is sufficient to explain its attractiveness to Warburg. The simplification is brutal, and not free of bad faith. At worst, this simplification aimed at blocking off again precisely the theoretical paths the notion of Nachleben had opened up. That he read Darwin? There is not a shadow of doubt about that.

Nothing could be further from the truth. But, to raise the question of time is to raise the question of times , that is to say, of the different temporal modalities manifested, for example, by a fossil, an embryo, or a rudimentary organ. The latter is a bio-ecological theory of transformation, in which the emergence of living species is subject to the process of variation; while the former is a doctrine, or better an ideology, of the meaning of history whose conclusions—widespread among the ruling classes and the industrial milieux of the 19th century—are opposed in many respects to those of the Origin of Species.

The misunderstanding is rooted, precisely, in the notion of survival. To speak in this manner amounts to linking selection very tightly to survival : the fittest, the strongest survive and multiply. For Warburg, Nachleben made sense only if it was used to complexify the notion of historical time , to recognize in the world of culture the existence of specific, non-natural temporal modes. Quite to the contrary, it survives, as symptom and as phantom, its own death.

From this point of view, Nachleben could be compared—although not assimilated—to models of time which allow for a symptomatic interpretation of certain cases within the framework of the theory of evolution, that is to say, models which create difficulties for all schemas of adaptation that stress continuity. Ernst Gombrich revealed, but also over-estimated, his use of the heterodox evolutionism of Tito Vignoli. This positivist source should really be placed alongside the romanticism of Carlyle, for example, from which Warburg drew further arguments in favor of that questioning of history that always arises from recognizing the phenomena of survival.

In the same context, Carlyle sketched a veritable philosophy of history in dialogue with the whole of German thought, including that of Lessing, of Herder, of Kant, of Schiller, and, of course, of Goethe. The opening up of art history to anthropology could not fail to modify its own schemas of intelligibility, its own determinants. What should we conclude from this play of borrowings and debates if not that evolutionism produced its own crisis, its own internal critique?

Warburg elaborated the notion of Nachleben within a very specific historical framework, one which formed virtually the exclusive domain of his published studies. But we should not forget that Warburg formulated the problem in the context of the Renaissance in particular. Whatever general value the notion of Nachleben may possess results from a reading of Warburg, and thus of an interpretation of him; we are the only ones responsible for that interpretation. Let us agree that, in any case, Warburg has a certain taste—though subtle and surreptitious—for provocation.

But the impression persists that there is something irritating about the confrontation of these two words. We must observe, in fact, that neither of them emerges unaffected by this pairing. The Renaissance, as the Golden Age of the history of art, loses some of its purity and of its completeness.

Reciprocally, survival, as an obscure evolutionary process, loses something of its primitive or prehistoric aura. But why this context? Why the Renaissance? First of all, because that is precisely where art history, conceived as a branch of knowledge, had begun or begun again. Entering into the Renaissance—entering into art history by the royal road of the Renaissance—also meant, for a young scholar at the end of the nineteenth century, entering into a theoretical polemic about the very status, about the style and the stakes of historical discourse in general.

Recriminations addressed less to Michelet himself than to two German thinkers guilty of having pushed such formulas to their extreme consequences. These two authors are none other than Jacob Burckhardt and Friedrich Nietzsche. The polemic, one suspects, was not only about the status, Christian or not, of the Italian Renaissance, but also about the status of historical knowledge itself, of its philosophical and anthropological ambitions.

At the heart of this polemic lay nothing less than a struggle over the new Kulturgeschichte inaugurated by Nietzsche and by Burckhardt. A single example will suffice to bring out this contrast: in his article of on the Florentine portrait, Warburg begins, precisely, with a topic involving Franciscan iconography— The Confirmation of the Rule of the order of St. Francis, portrayed by Giotto in the Church of Santa Croce and by Ghirlandaio in Santa Trinita—which renders the absence of any reference to Thode all the more flagrant. In contrast, the same text opens with a vigorous theoretical statement dominated by the authority of Burckhardt:.

With all the authority of genius, that model pioneer vorbildlicher Pfadfinder , Jacob Burckhardt, dominated the field that he himself had opened up for scholarship: that of Italian Renaissance civilization Kultur der Renaissance. But it was not in his nature to be an autocratic exploiter of the land Land he had discovered. Huge Savings Item! MPN: illustrations. Limited time offer. Offer valid only while supplies last. The playful ease and subtle humor of Al Taylor's drawings made him an artist's artist par excellence.

It runs thus: [ To return to the Cupid of Praxiteles. Bonarroti, p. One of his memorable pictures was the Battle [Page ] of Mantinea. The number of his works is a noble proof of his indefatigable [Page ] application. WEBB, p. Much, however, is known. They probably guarded the fragments with a religious veneration.

I return to the Rhodian Apollo. Is not this paying rather too high a compliment to the Egyptian monarch? He was, however, a patron of art, and a lover of magnificence. The [ Aeneid x. Jamque pererratis profugus terraque, fretoque, Moenia felici condidit alta manu. Amorum, Lib. Aeneid, lib. The Anthologia contains the following pathetic Greek epigram on the utter demolition of that celebrated city:. The particulars of this failure have not been explained; and Falconer, rejecting a conjecture of M.

Had the life of the beneficent Titus, her father, been extended, it is probable that his days would have been deeply embittered by the uncommonly deplorable frailties of his daughter. Cornelia was the admired model of the maternal character in ancient Rome. This memorable incident is recorded by Plutarch, in his Life of Timoleon. They conducted him, with an interpreter, to their captain. WHEN the tide of affliction begins to flow, how dark and deep is the current!

University of O xford T ext A rchive. An essay on sculpture: in a series of epistles to John Flaxman, APRIL 19, For Greece, their Helen! Publish [ All that I've done is due to patient thought. NOTE V. For low and little cares of languid life. THE fav'rite idol of benighted zeal. The new attraction of a modell'd face. David, tom.

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