ABY WARBURG: METAMORPHOSIS AND MEMORY, Documentary by Judith Weschler

20 Apr
The New York Institute for the Humanities is planning on screening a new documentary by Judith Weschler on the life and intellectual development of Aby Warburg on Friday, April 29, in lieu of the Institute’s weekly fellows luncheon. Anyone who might be interested in the film to the screening, including students, is invited.
The screening will be at 12 PM, at 19 University Place, Room 102. The Institute only asks that anyone interested please contact Melanie Rehak (melanie.rehak@nyu.edu) to RSVP.
Here’s the description of the film provided by Judith Weschler:
ABY WARBURG: METAMORPHOSIS AND MEMORY
 
60 minutes. 2016.
 
Aby Warburg, (1866-1929), an art historian of startling originality, 
came from the renowned Warburg banking family of Hamburg,
Germany. Already in his teens, the first of seven children, he made a
deal with his next oldest brother, to forfeit his birth right to take over
the family bank in exchange for full financial support in buying all the
books that he would ever want. The library he assembled would
become a refuge of scholarship. In 1933, with the Nazi takeover and
the deprivation of Jewish rights, 60,000 books, photographs, and
papers were shipped to London to become the Warburg Library and
Institute eventually housed at the University of London.
 
This documentary on the life and work of Aby Warburg traces the 
development of his ideas in their historical context. From his early
studies on the early Italian Renaissance to his ventures in the
American Southwest observing Hopi and Zuni ritual dances in 1895,
Warburg sought the legacy of ancient Greece in the images and
symbols of cultures, which he followed through iconographic studies
that he pioneered. He sought connections between gesture and art in
antiquity, the Renaissance and modern times. Underneath the
seeming rationality of antiquity and the Renaissance, he sensed
conflict and irrationality.
 
Aby Warburg never took an academic position but pursued his 
interests and collection of books with passion. Recurrent depressions
lead to hospitalization in a psychiatric clinic in Switzerland 1921-1924.
For the last five years of his life, he gave occasional lectures and
seminars, but publishing almost nothing. Most notably, he developed
a picture atlas, Mnemosyne, (the personification of Memory in Greek
mythology,) consisting of 60 wooden panels with some 1000 images
arranged according to themes and juxtapositions, concerning
memory, astrology and mythology, archeology, migration of the
ancient gods, vehicles of tradition, irruption of antiquity, Dionysiac
formulae of emotions, Nike and Fortuna, Durer, the baroque, the
reemergence of antiquity, Manet, the classical tradition today.
The principal motifs of Warburg’s scholarship are discussed by
leading art historians in England, US and Germany, including
Professors Michael Diers,  David Freedberg, and Joseph Koerner.
Filming took place in London and Hamburg.
 
This film should be of interest to anyone interested in the history of 
ideas, art history, social and cultural history.
 
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