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Memory, Metaphor, and Aby Warburg's Atlas of Images$
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Christopher D. Johnson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801477423

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801477423.001.0001

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Exemplary Figures and Diagrammatic Thought

Exemplary Figures and Diagrammatic Thought

(p.170) 6 Exemplary Figures and Diagrammatic Thought
Memory, Metaphor, and Aby Warburg's Atlas of Images

Christopher D. Johnson

Cornell University Press

This chapter offers a close reading of Warburg's 1926 lecture on Rembrandt, in which he crystallizes his thinking about the Baroque and “superlatives” in art and lays the groundwork for the final sequence of panels in the Atlas. This lecture also directly informs panels 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, and 75 of Mnemosyne and helps him forge a novel, diagrammatic form of thought that lead to his fateful encounter with Giordano Bruno. In the panels in the Atlas the notion of “metaphorical distance” is at once realized and ironized, as Warburg contemplates the ambivalent symbolism associated with Mussolini, the Eucharist, and new technology.

Keywords:   Harmensz van Rijn Rembrandt, Baroque, superlatives in art, Atlas, Giordano Bruno, metaphoric distance

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