From Artistic Geography to a Global History of Art: Aby Warburg and his Legacy

Prof. Dr. Thomas DaCosta Kaufmann

Princeton University

Wednesday, 28 June 2023, 5.30 pm (BST)

In-person event. Please register in advance via the Warburg Institute website.

Lecture Room at The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square , London, WC1H 0AB

From top left: Aby Warburg’s panel “Menschengleichnis am Himmel” (1927), double page of “British Art and the Mediterranean” (1948), screenshot of search engine “Visual Contagions” (2023)

This lecture follows the traces of artistic geography from Warburg’s initial use of the metaphor of pictorial vehicles to aspects of global art history as conceptualized today.  Although artistic geography and world art history were not central to Warburg’s concerns, some of the ideas and methods he adumbrated have proved productive for scholars associated with the Warburg Institute or invoking Warburg who have imagined approaches inspired by him.

The Bilderfahrzeuge Lecture series 2022/23 – Border Regimes

From the reality of geopolitical boundaries to arguments over national styles and disciplinary limitations, border regimes are a pervasive part of academic work and our everyday world. But what kinds of associations can be made between divisions of scholarship, divisions of artistic production, and divisions of nation states? It is a commonplace to note that knowledge and art transcend boundaries and bring politics with them; but are some forms of knowledge and some forms of art more nationalistically constrained than others?  Today, art historians are prone to celebrate Aby Warburg’s warning against the biases of disciplinary border guards (grenzpolizeiliche Befangenheit), yet scholarly boundaries can also help establish academic rigor and Warburg’s ideal of breaking down boundaries could well be correlated with his distinctly German milieu and its holistic ideal of Bildung. This lecture series brings together art historians working on “border regimes” in every sense of the phrase, querying the positive, negative, and ambiguous dimensions to this ubiquitous concept.  How does this issue apply to different historical and geographic periods of artistic production and how do those differences relate to art historiography both past and present?

Cite this blog post
Stuart Moss (2023, June 2). From Artistic Geography to a Global History of Art: Aby Warburg and his Legacy. BILDERFAHRZEUGE. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from

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