BILDERFAHRZEUGE Blog

Fellowship award and new book announcement for Alexandra Marraccini

We are delighted to announce that our colleague Dr Alexandra Marraccini has been selected as a 2021/22 National Book Critics’ Circle Emerging Critics Fellow.

Moreover, her first book on critical writing WE THE PARASITES is to be published in the US by Sublunary Editions in Autumn 2022.

A posthumous publication: Frank Martin’s “Camillo Rusconi: ein Bildhauer des Spätbarock in Rom” (2019)

When recently I took Frank Martin’s posthumously published book off the shelf at the Warburg Institute I was pursuing issues relating to eighteenth-century Italian sculpture, in particular the making and use of models. But the book attracted me also on a personal level. Frank Martin died unexpectedly at the age of 53 in 2014. I knew him well from periods when we had worked at the same institutions, in 1993 at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, where he was a postdoctoral fellow, and again in 1996 at the Warburg Institute, where he held a three-month Frances Yates Fellowship.

New Publication: “Art History Before English”

This book addresses a phenomenon that pervades the field of art history and indeed scholarship in general: the fact that English has become academia’s most prominent and widely adopted language. Seeking to shed light on the particular issues that English’s rise to prominence poses for art history, the essays in this volume investigate the history of the discipline itself: specifically, the extent to which the European tradition of art historical writing has always been shaped by the presence of dominant languages.

Der „Wald von Paris“: Die Rekonstruktion des Dachstuhls von Notre Dame

Fällt ein Baum im Wald… Das bekannte Gleichnis fragt nach der Beziehung von Ereignis und Wahrnehmung respektive nach der Bedeutung von Zeugenschaft und berührt somit letztlich ein geschichtstheoretisches Problem. In den Wäldern Frankreichs fallen derzeit Bäume zu tausenden. Darüber, ob ihr Sturz ein Geräusch verursacht, braucht nicht spekuliert werden: Zeugen sind genügend vorhanden. Die Bäume, allesamt Eichen, werden gefällt für die Instandsetzung von Notre Dame, den hölzernen Dachstuhl um genau zu sein.

New Publication: “Burckhardt.Renaissance”

Aus Anlass von Burckhardts 200. Geburtstag haben sich im Jahr 2018 Historiker, Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaftler in Basel versammelt, um ausgehend von seinem bis heute Maßstäbe setzenden Essay »Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien« (1860) nach der Aktualität seines Werks zu fragen. Entstanden ist ein Reader, der gleichermaßen kritisch wie würdigend zum Weiterlesen einer der wirkmächtigsten akademischen Hinterlassenschaften ermuntert.

Meyer Schapiro: Thinking between Art and the 20th century

Last month, a workshop that I organized on the American art historian and New York intellectual Meyer Schapiro (1904-1996) finally came to fruition. Hosted by the Centre for American Art at the Courtauld Institute here in London, the workshop was conceived as an afternoon of engagement with texts by Schapiro and was punctuated by three presentations: the first by myself, the second by Jérémie Koering of the University of Fribourg, and the third by Hagi Kenaan of University of Tel Aviv. Other scholars, including members of the Bilderfahrzeuge Project, joined as discussants and in the intervening days I’ve continued to think about the workshop and the ideas that it helped generate. In what follows I offer up some further reflections.

Dürer’s models

Christoper S. Wood

(Department of German, New York University)


Wednesday, 10 March 2021, 5:30 pm

Online Lecture, hosted by the Warburg Institute.
Free and open to all via Zoom; please book in advance via the Warburg Institute website.

Online events: Premodern Disability Histories

This lecture series is organized by Jess Bailey (UC Berkeley) and Felix Jäger (Bilderfahrzeuge Project / Warburg Institute), and complements a workshop and a public keynote presentation centered on “technologies of disability” in the...

The Ideological Origins of American Insurrection

In the preface to the 50th anniversary edition of his Pulitzer prize winning study, ‘The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution’, the Harvard historian Bernard Bailyn reflects back on his book’s original argument of 1967, one based on an unprecedented attention to the language and rhetoric of the manifold political pamphlets that circulated in the American colonies between 1760 and 1776. Towards the end of his retrospection, Bailyn underlines the importance of the reception of ancient Roman republicanism among the American revolutionaries and cites one of the most well-known expressions of whiggish sentiment of the time—Trenchard and Gordon’s essays from the 1720s known as ‘Cato’s Letters’. Quoting the letters’ assertion that “words are too weak” to express the magnitude of the impact of the history of ancient Rome on the 18th century republican mind, Bailyn wonders if pictures might come closer to the mark.

Locke to Courten: a letter about “Draughts”

“[…] I the last weeke put into the hands of Mr Smith a book seller liveing at the Princes Armes in Pauls Churchyard 26 Draughts of the inhabitants of severall remote parts of the world espetially the East Indies […] For the excellency of the drawing I will not answer they being don by my boy who hath faithfully enough represented the originals they were copyed from.” So wrote the famed philosopher John Locke to his friend William Courten, aka William Charleton, from Amsterdam in August 1687. If these passing remarks concerning the copying work of Locke’s servant, Sylvester Brounower, might at first appear to be of little interest, they take on much more significance when matched with the drawings that they describe. Thanks to the fact that Courten kept a prominent cabinet of curiosities in London that would later be acquired by Hans Sloane, whose collection in turn helped form the basis of the British Museum, we can do just that.

The Grieving Figure in Scenes of Loss and Mourning in Mughal Manuscript Painting

Images depicting sorrow were rare, though not an uncommon genre, contained in illustrated manuscripts produced during the Mughal reign in India (1526 – 1857). The tradition of image-making during Mughal rule can be traced to earlier Timurid (15th century) and Ilkhanid periods (14th century), whose subject mainly consisted of histories of dynasties, Persian poetic and literary works and biographies of Turko-Mongol rulers. Images displaying tragedy and loss were limited to death scenes of legendary and historic rulers, heroes and anti-heroes, and saints and protagonists from literary works. The main corpus of images, however, contained themes that exalted the ruler, depicted his might and strength and displayed his connoisseurship of literature, art and culture. Therefore, despite their limited role, the tragic end of heroes, rulers and saints were as much part of the literary and visual cultural history, as were narratives and legends glorifying their lives.

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