Online: Aby Warburg Reading Group

Online: Aby Warburg Reading Group
19 June 2020, 4.00pm - 5.00pm

Skulls, Tree Bark, Fossils: Memory and Materiality in George Didi-Huberman’s Transvaluation of Surface 

Keynote speaker: Dr Magdalena Zolkos

Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory

Organisers: Katia Pizzi (Italian Cultural Institute); Fabio Tononi (CCM/Warburg Institute); Gemma Cornetti (Warburg Institute)

This regular seminar and reading group is devoted to the work of Aby Warburg (1866–1929), a prominent German art historian and cultural theorist who founded the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg, which later become the Warburg Institute. The main concern of his research was the afterlife of Classical Antiquity in the Renaissance. With this purpose, he coined a series of concepts – ie Nachleben and Pathosformel – and theories – ie the theory of social memory – opening up an authentic new path of investigation in the study of art history and images. Warburg’s major contribution was the study of cultural memory. In this sense, Gombrich states: “A historian who inscribed the word MNHMOΣYNH, ‘Memory’, over the entrance to his creation demands and deserves to remain accessible to the memory of those whom he benefitted”. 

Participants will engage with Warburg’s key texts, projects and ideas that have shaped his thought and library. This will enable attendees to estimate his impact on the study of images, in particular, and culture, in general, as well as his relevance in today art history. 

Participants will be provided electronically with extracts in advance.

Flyer (pdf)

The reading group is open to all and free of charge. Organised in partnership with the Warburg Institute, the Istituto di Cultura Italiano, and LAHP. If you would like to attend, please email Fabio Tononi:  

21 February 2020
Life, First Teachers and Studies
Gombrich, pp. 19-42

20 March 2020
On Botticelli’s Birth of Venus
Warburg (1999), pp. 89-111

24 April 2020
The Theory of Social Memory
Gombrich, pp. 283-306

22 May 2020
Warburg (2003). Gombrich, pp. 283-306

19 June 2020
The Warburg’s Library

Gombrich, Ernst, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (London: The Warburg Institute, 1970).
Saxl, Fritz, The History of Warburg’s Library, 1886–1944, in Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography, pp. 325-338.
Warburg, Aby, The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity: Contributions to the Cultural History of the European Renaissance, trans. by David Britt (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1999).
Warburg, Aby, Der Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, ed. by Martin Warnke and Claudia Brink (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2003).


Fabio Tononi
020 7862 8738