The Warburg Institute - The Burlington Magazine

Art Historiography Seminar

This series investigates the changing histories of art produced by successive generations of art critics and art historians from the nineteenth century till the present. The seminar will explore the canonical formats of art-historical writing (connoisseurship, art criticism, and academic art history) but also aims to encourage discussion on how external factors shaped the construction of art history; it will include interpretations produced by museums, commercial galleries, auction houses and various types of art press. The series brings together scholars working on similar, often intersecting subjects, with the aim to share ideas and promote further research. Attendance to each seminar is free.

Lecture Room, The Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London WC1H 0AB
All seminars start at 16.30. Free entrance, without a readers’ ticket.

13 May
Susanna Avery-Quash, Connoisseurship at the National Gallery: the impact of Sir Charles Eastlake as first Director

3 June
Elizabeth Sears, Warburg's Hertziana Lecture, 1929: An 'Anatomical Demonstration' of Methodology for the Study of Art

On 19 January 1929, Aby Warburg delivered a paper at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, having received an invitation to speak from its director, Ernst Steinmann.  Warburg was then in the middle of a final odyssey—a nine-month journey through Italy with a long stay in Rome—during which he labored earnestly on his now famous, never finished, Bilderatlas, called Mnemosyne.  Archival documents, textual and visual, permit partial reconstruction of the Hertziana lecture and provide remarkable evidence of Warburg’s working process, the manner in which he staged his performance,  the charismatic force of his delivery, and the response his talk elicited from select members of the international audience.


For information on this seminar please contact Barbara Pezzini,


Past seminars:

29 October
Samuel Shaw, 'Like an inspired Baedeker': William Rothenstein as Art Writer

3 December
Rosalind McKever, A primordial tomorrow: Primitivism and the Italian Primitives through Futurist eyes

14 January
Paul Hills, Writing on Renaissance colour: Adrian Stokes and John Shearman

4 February
Giovanni Gasbarri,  'The greatest discovery of our century':  ‘Byzantine’ forgeries and the strange case of Sacro Tesoro Rossi

11 March
Alan Crookham, Art or document?  Interpretations of Gentile Bellini’s Portrait of Sultan Mehmet II