Aby Warburg’s Lost Atlas of Memory

 By John Veldhoen

 

Let me tell you a story: In 1910 there was a historian named Aby Warburg. He described himself as a “Hamburger at heart, Jew by blood, Florentine in spirit”; He collected an art legacy, assembling thousands of years of human history in photographs, and on postcards produced from throughout Europe. He combined these images on panel boards, looking to devise a way to see how images bleed past eras, and into each other as works of creation. 

He worked to shape a system to observe the themes in art, and how they function psychologically. In essence, an object lives on in culture, it seems to have an afterlife. It continues to speak well after it has disappeared from immediate view. 

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