ISSN: 20403682
First published in 2010
2 issues per volume
Volume 8 Issue 1-2
Cover Date: October 2017
Metadata: New perspectives on Aby Warburg’s ‘critical iconology’
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Authors:  Johannes von Müller 
DOI: 10.1386/pop.8.1-2.171_1

iconology,digital art history,digital humanities,cultural history,Aby Warburg,post internet art

The article reassesses the renown ‘critical iconology’ practiced by Aby Warburg and confronts it with recent theories regarding metadata and the curatorship of information. A close examination of Robert Kitaj’s portrait Warburg as a Maenad (1961–62) affirms Warburg’s ‘combinatory experiments’ (Christopher D. Johnson) to be a main characteristic of his practice. Warburg seems to have operated by applying what can now be described as metadata to the processes of transmission of culture he was accessing in form of migrating images. Further, the insights he was able to gain, namely his famous notion of the ‘Pathosformel’, may have to be considered as a specific form of metadata too. This is of particular interest acknowledging that in the digital world the migration of images takes mainly place in the realm of metadata. Hence ideas put forward by Warburg are able contribute to a deeper understanding of such phenomena.
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