Engrams for Lepanto : Aby Warburg, Cy Twombly, and the painting as memory trace

Depper, Corin (2014) Engrams for Lepanto : Aby Warburg, Cy Twombly, and the painting as memory trace. In: The Story of Memory : New Perspectives on the Relationship between Memory and Storytelling in the Twenty-First Century; 04 - 05 Sep 2014, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper will explore the application of the concept of Pathosformel (pathos formula), as pioneered in the work of the art historian Aby Warburg (1866–1929) for understanding the relationship between Classical and Renaissance art, in developing a reading of the work of the American painter Cy Twombly (1928–2011). Drawing on the work of the psychologist Richard Semon, whose study The Mneme introduced the concept of the 'engram' as a measure of a sensation's trace, Warburg argued that the trace of Classical art can be detected in the posture and gesture of figures in Renaissance painting. Coming to prominence in the wake of Abstract Expressionism, Cy Twombly's work would appear far removed from Warburg's concerns. However, I will argue that his work – focusing on his 12-painting Lepanto sequence from 2001 – can be read profitably through a Warburgian lens, suggesting that an engrammatic account of Twombly's technique permits a fusing of painterly and historical concerns.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Event Title: The Story of Memory : New Perspectives on the Relationship between Memory and Storytelling in the Twenty-First Century
Organising Body: University of Roehampton
Research Area: History of art, architecture and design
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (until 2017)
Depositing User: Corin Depper
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2017 10:21
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2017 10:21
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/39789

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