Aby Warburg and his Bilderatlas (2)

As part of my background reading to understand more about the intellectual significance of Warburg, I acquired a copy of Edgar Wind’s The Eloquence of Symbols which includes the review that Wind wrote for the TLS of Gombrich’s intellectual biography of Warburg, published in 1970. It is the most astonishing and powerful piece of invective, written by Wind who was Panofsky’s first student at Hamburg, met Warburg in 1927, and was key to the transfer of the Warburg Library to London. He was clearly very protective of Warburg’s legacy, whereas Gombrich joined the Institute after Warburg’s death and was obviously in many ways hostile to Warburg’s thinking, his interest in astrology and magic, in psychology, and didn’t want to deal with the some of the intellectual complexities and undercurrents of Warburg’s life and mind. I recommend it for an understanding of Warburg’s influence on later scholarship.

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