1st Edition

Studies on Aby Warburg, Fritz Saxl and Gertrud Bing

By Dorothea McEwan Copyright 2023
    346 Pages 56 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Originally published in German, Italian and French these articles have been translated into English for the first time by the author, the former archivist of The Warburg Institute, London. Aby Warburg’s research and writings centred on images, their origins and metamorphoses, and their explanations and interpretations. The articles include discussions of Warburg’s academic work with colleagues such as James Loeb, the American Hellenist and philanthropist, and founder of the Loeb Classical Library, and with Josef Strzygowski, the Polish-Austrian art historian of the Vienna School of Art History. Further articles include notes on Warburg’s Serpent Ritual lecture of 1923; his politico-cultural initiative in 1914–1915; his work on caricature, in particular the Struwwelpeter topic; and discussions on the topic of Judaica.

    The Viennese art historian Fritz Saxl became his trusted friend and collaborator helping to gather Warburg’s large collection of books and photographs into the foundation of an academic institution in Hamburg in the 1920s, and then for a second time in London in the 1930s. The Warburg Institute has become one of the world’s leading centres of intellectual history. (CS 1109).

    Part I. Articles on a selection of Warburg’s main research topics


    Chapter 1. Personal and zodiacal. Warburg’s comments on the Palazzo Schifanoia lecture in 1912

    Chapter 2. ‘IDEA VINCIT’, ‘The victorious, flying Idea’. An artistic commission by Aby Warburg


    Chapter 3. A fight against windmills. On Rivista Illustrata, Warburg’s pro-Italian publishing initiative


    Chapter 4. On the origins of the Serpent Ritual Lecture. Motive and motivation. Healing through remembrance


    Chapter 5. The František Pospíšil – Aby Warburg correspondence in the Warburg Institute


    Part II. Aby Warburg’s collaboration with James Loeb and Fritz Saxl


    Chapter 6. Facets of friendship: Aby Warburg and James Loeb. Friends, scholars, relatives, patrons of the art


    Chapter 7. Fritz Saxl and Aby Warburg: appreciation of a friendship. Evaluating collaboration, tracing contacts to the ‘Vienna School’


    Part III. Topics which caught Warburg’s interest


    Chapter 8. A trouvaille from the Warburg Institute Archive on Mandaeism and Gnosticism


    Chapter 9. Warburg’s view of Strzygowski as reflected in the Aby Warburg correspondence


    Chapter 10. Bringing light into darkness. Aby Warburg and Fritz Saxl in conversation on Mithras


    Chapter 11. Caricature as war effort: Aby Warburg’s ‘new style in word and image’, 1914–1918.


    Part IV. Judaica


    Chapter 12. ‘…probably latent antisemitism’


    Chapter 13. Aby to Gisela Warburg: against the ‘pioneers of this-worldliness’


    Chapter 14. ‘What I can represent as a Jew, I can also represent as a Catholic’. On Alfons Augustinus Barb’s scholarly career and his change of religion


    Part V. Struwwelpeter


    Chapter 15. Aby Warburg’s interpretation of the Russian translation of Struwwelpeter and the political parodies Struwwelhitler – A Nazi Storybook and Schicklgrüber.


    Part VI. Aby Warburg and Mary Warburg


    Chapter 16. The ‘Palazzo Potetje’: Mary Warburg’s triptych

    Part VII. Interview with Dorothea McEwan


    Chapter 17. The Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg as seen through its archive in London and Dorothea McEwan’s other research interests. Interview by Céline Trautmann-Waller with Dorothea McEwan, 2 August 2018




    Dorothea McEwan was appointed the first archivist of The Warburg Institute Archive, London in 1993. Her research interests include Aby Warburg and Fritz Saxl and Ethiopian illuminated manuscripts and Ethiopian history. In 2008 she was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, in 2017 she was elected Associate Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences and in 2021 she was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria.