Ernst Gombrich and the memory of Aby Warburg : emotion identity and scholarship
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This thesis in intellectual history examines the work of art historian Ernst Gombrich (1909-2001), one-time Director of London's Warburg Institute, on that institute's founder, Aby Warburg (1866-1929). The memory of War burg, as evoked in Gombrich's scholarship, is investigated as a focal point for contemporary concerns on the part of Gombrich and his peers, and as an influence on Warburg's reception in 20th century scholarship. The thesis gives a close account of Gombrich's particular intellectual achievements, in order better to understand his status as a figure of great popular and academic significance in mid-to-Iate 20th century art history and art theory. Gombrich was an emigre who left his native Austria for the United Kingdom in the 1930s and this thesis also considers the impact on intellectual history of the mid-20th century emigration from Central Europe, which was driven by ethnonationalist and above all Nazi persecution. Specifically, the thesis examines the significance for Gombrich's work of his Austrian background, in terms of both the German-language humanist culture of Bi/dung and Gombrich's sense, as a person of Jewish background, of Jewish identity. Using a methodology informed by the anthropology of emotions and the discipline of memory studies, Warburg is approached specifically as a lieu de memoire on Pierre Nora's model. The argument is that Gombrich invested his own concerns in his scholarly representations of the older art historian. The means by which this investment was made, and the negotiation of this investment amongst Gombrich's colleagues at the Warburg Institute, are traced through archival research. The impact of Gombrich's investment in Warburg on the older art historian's subsequent, posthumous reception in academia is examined, and the potential for alternative visions of Warburg marginalised by Gombrich's representation is also considered.
AuthorsFinch, Matthew Edward
- Theses