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"The Warburg has inspired my curiosity to no end and the course gives me such freedom to explore my own interests."

Lauren Steele, 2020 MA student

Our Virtual Open Day takes place next week! On Thursday 11 March 2021, join us online to find out what it’s like to study at the Warburg Institute. 

Find out more and register


Life after the Warburg: Charles Saumarez Smith

In our latest 'Life After the Warburg' blog post, we caught up with writer, curator, art historian and former Warburg Institute student Charles Saumarez Smith. Read the interview to find out more about some of the highlights as well as challenges of his career, his time studying at the Warburg and to discover more about his new book The Art Museum in Modern Times.  

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The Art Discovery Group catalogue 

The Warburg Library shares its catalogue with the Art Discovery Group union catalogue since 2017. Launched in 2014, this international catalogue is a unique tool for art-focused research, using the infrastructure of OCLC WorldCat. WorldCat is not available in every library, including at the University of London. Our contribution allows researchers at the Warburg and SAS to use the tools of WorldCat and makes our collections more visible worldwide.

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Warburg’s Bilderatlas

The exhibition Aby Warburg, Bilderatlas Mnemosyne. Das Original – the reconstruction of all 63 panels of the last version of Warburg’s iconic work of 1929 – will shortly open at its second venue, the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn.

Originally scheduled for 26 February the opening is now expected to be in April when museums in Germany may be allowed to re-open. Despite lockdown restrictions, the show has already had impressive international feedback with more than 100 features across newspapers, magazines, journals, TV, radio broadcasts and online. The exhibition, along with its counterpart, the display of original objects Warburg had chosen for his Atlas from the collections of the Berlin State Museums at the Gemäldegalerie, had to close a month earlier than planned, but visitors from around the world are continuing to see it virtually.

© Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn / Courtesy The Warburg Institute

Warburg Family Correspondences

During the last few months, we have catalogued a substantial collection of Warburg family correspondences, given to the Institute by Aby and Paul’s descendants: letters to Aby’s son, Max Adolph Warburg, as well as ones written by and to the wife of Warburg’s brother Paul, Nina Loeb Warburg, her mother Betty Gallenberg Loeb and her daughter Bettina Warburg, a famous American psychiatrist. While the Loeb collection gives interesting insights into changing female roles between 1847 and 1927, Max Adolph’s correspondence contains a set of increasingly disillusioned letters, written by what may have been an employee of the family, serving at the North Sea harbour of Wilhelmshaven, and a set of love letters to him from his sister Marietta’s sister-in-law, Gertrud Braden.

Warburg Institute Archive, Family Correspondence, Betty Gallenberg Loeb to her daughter Nina, 18 June 1881


For our newsletter readers in the US and Canada we have good news. We are delighted that two long-awaited editions of our books are now available to purchase:

Aby Warburg: Three Lectures on Leonardo 1899

Marking the fifth centenary of Leonardo’s death and the 120th anniversary of Warburg’s first public lecture series, a special publication has been published containing the full translated text of Aby Warburg's unpublished lectures on Leonardo. 

Find out more and purchase


The Secret of Secrets: The East Slavic Version

The original Arabic Secret of Secrets was probably compiled from multiple sources, and dates from about the tenth century. It purports to be the advice of Aristotle to his pupil Alexander the Great on all the knowledge - political, ethical, military, medical, and occult - needed by a great king. This idiosyncratic version contains major interpolations: a physiognomy by Razes and treatises on poison, sex, and asthma by Maimonides. It is known to have been in the libraries of at least two tsars and two patriarchs in the 16th and 17th centuries. 

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Bilderfahrzeuge Project Lecture - 'Dürer's models'

10 March, 5:30 - 7.00pm | with Christopher S. Wood (Department of German, New York University NYU)


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Director's Seminar - 'Foucault’s pendulum and us: on the occasion of an installation by Gerhard Richter'

12 March, 5:30 - 7.00pm | Michael Hagner (ETH Zurich)

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Different Perspectives on and Approaches to Neo-Latin

19 March, 2:30 - 6.00pm | Presentations on Neo-Latin studies from different disciplinary perspectives - English Studies, History, and Book History

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Stargates - 'The Magic of Images and Images for Magic in Ancient Egypt'

23 March, 5.30 - 7.00pm | with Marc Etienne (Musée du Louvre, département des Antiquités égyptiennes)

Book your place

Explore what else is on at the Warburg

Open for Discussion

As museums, archives, and libraries emerge from lockdown, we have a stronger sense than ever of the challenges involved in providing access to the objects that carry our collective memories. While one-way routes and Perspex shields may be new, the complexities around acquiring, preserving, finding, and using collections are not.

The Warburg Institute is delighted to announce two special events organised with the Institute of English Studies in connection with the School of Advanced Study Open for Discussion series:

Poets and Archives

9 March: 6.00-7.15pm

How do writers engage with and make innovative use of collections? Poetry readings by Linda Anderson, John Challis, and Theresa Muñoz are followed by a discussion on the relationship between poets and archives, co-chaired by Clare Lees (Director, IES) and Bill Sherman (Director, Warburg Institute). 

Book here

Unlocking Collections

18 March: 6.00-7.15pm

How do institutions reveal the hidden histories of their collections? What new tools are emerging for recording and sharing cultural heritage? A panel discussion co-chaired by Clare Lees and Bill Sherman, with Rebecca Bailey (Historic Environment Scotland), Catherine Ince (V&A East), Adam Lowe (Factum Foundation), Catriona Cannon (Bodleian Libraries), Maria Fusco (Professor of Fine Art, Dundee).

Book here



The Artist and the Scholar: Mary Warburg (née Hertz) and Aby Warburg


A presentation of a new publication focussing on the artist Mary Warburg, wife of Aby Warburg. With the authors Bärbel Hedinger, Michael Diers, Steffen Haug and Andrea Völker and John Prag, grandson of Mary and Aby Warburg.

(Im)material Devotions: Light and lighting devices in devotional practice | The Warburg Institute


Dr Tom Nickson (Courtauld Institute) examines the role of candles, lamps and natural light in shaping devotional spaces and experiences. Drawing on written, visual and archaeological evidence, he considers the role of different lighting devices in a range of spaces, from mosques to royal chapels and parish churches, showing how light and lighting were central to experiences of material and devotional cultures at all levels of society.

Times of Festival: ‘From "In the beginning" to "World without end": the History of Man’s Salvation in the San Giovanni Procession of 1454’


In 1454, Matteo Palmieri was elected one of the festaiuoli for the feast of San Giovanni, tasked with implementing measures to impose order on the chaos of the religious festival. He subsequently recorded the details of the procession, which combined tradition and innovation into a coherent chronological narrative. In this lecture, Professor Newbigin presents recent research on the procession that forms part of her forthcoming monograph, Making a Play for God: The Sacre Rappresentazioni of Renaissance Florence (Toronto: Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, forthcoming 2020).


A French honour for Professor Margaret McGowan: “un amour partagé”


Internationally known scholar of 16th-century French culture, professor Margaret McGowan has been appointed in 2020 Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres.

Former chairman of the Advisory Council for the Warburg Institute, she had the chance to prepare her dissertation under the supervision of Frances Yates whilst studying at the Warburg.

In this blog post, Frances Yates Long-Term Fellow, Luisa Capodieci, chats with Professor McGowan to discover the roots of her interest in French Renaissance and her memories of her studies with Dame Frances Yates.

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Zero-sum Thinking; Mercantilist Thought between West and East


Short-term fellow Alex Feldman takes a fresh look at the long history of Mercantilist economic thought, urging us to reconsider the traditional ‘zero-sum game’ of economic growth.

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