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This is the final newsletter of the academic year, and it’s a good moment to reflect on the many changes and challenges that have made this a year to remember (and, at times, to forget)—for the Institute, the University and the world. COVID-19, budget cuts and Brexit have all hit close to home; and some of us feel relieved simply to have survived. But we at the Warburg have done much more than that, and I hope you’ll also share our pride in the many triumphs, individual and collective: the last twelve months have seen record-setting gifts, unprecedented numbers for our courses and events, award-winning publications and countless acts of friendship.
Thanks in large part to a generous donation from the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung (the largest gift in the history of the University of London’s Development Office), the Warburg Renaissance building project is back on track: Haworth Tompkins have almost finished their designs, and we are already starting to prepare for the construction that will begin this time next year. The spectacular exhibition of Aby Warburg’s Bilderatlas Mnemosyne has now gone ‘home’ to Hamburg for a final run at the Deichtorhallen Sammlung Falckenberg, and we are looking ahead to another historic display on ‘Aby Warburg and Pueblo Art’ at the city’s ethnology museum. As this year winds down, we can also celebrate some initiatives that will put our publication programme on a stronger footing: we are finalising contracts with the University of Chicago Press for The Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes and with Princeton University Press for a much-needed collection called The Essential Warburg. Finally, we must thank the gods of digital communication (and our events team) for the platforms that allowed our lectures, conferences and short courses to reach far more people than usual: this year, more than 14,000 people registered for our academic and public programmes.
I am grateful to everyone who has made these achievements possible, and feel luckier than ever to be part of such a strong community. We have said farewell to several long-serving members of staff, and we look forward to welcoming new colleagues and students when we start again in September. For now, here’s to a restful summer and a more normal new academic year!


Warburg Renaissance receives record-setting donation from Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung


The Warburg Institute is delighted to have received a further £2 million towards the Warburg Renaissance building project from the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung. This gift takes the total support from the Hamburg-based foundation to £3m, making it the largest donation ever made to the central University of London and taking us very close to the target for the project budget of £14.5m.

Read more


The Arthur Beer Estate

In November 2020 the Archive received the papers of Arthur Beer (1900-1980), former Senior Assistant Observer at Cambridge Observatories.

The estate, consisting of both personal and scholarly materials, will be a valuable addition to our collection of some 800 letters, exchanged between Beer and members of the Institute from 1930 until his death.

Find out more


Latest book in Warburg Colloquia series now available to purchase

The next Warburg Institute imprint book to be published as part of our Colloquia series titled Pseudo-Galenica: The Formulation of the Galenic Corpus from Antiquity to the Renaissance is now available to purchase.

Find out more and purchase


"The financial aid has provided me with the confidence and unrivalled educational opportunity to continue my studies at a cutting edge institution."  
Incoming MA student Eleanor Lerman

Congratulations to those of our incoming 2021-22 students who received scholarships. See the full list of students who have received funding here.

Our MA and PhD scholarships for the year 2022-23 will open for applications this autumn.


Booking is open for our online short courses taking place this September.  All classes are delivered online via zoom.

Women and the Invention of the Renaissance
13-17 September 2021
Open to all. Drawing on a wide range of textual, visual, and material culture, this course will reconsider the crucial part women played in creating and shaping Renaissance culture.

Book your place

Renaissance Italian Intensive
20-24 September 2021
For students with a solid understanding of modern Italian, with a focus on the grammar, vocabulary and orthography of Renaissance Italian.

Book your place
Beginner Renaissance Latin Intensive
20-24 September 2021
For total beginners, with a focus on the rudiments of the Latin language. 

Book your place

Booking is also open for our 2021-2022 short courses in Classical Greek, Late Medieval and Renaissance Latin, Specialised French and Italian, and Palaeography. All classes are delivered online via zoom.

Classical Greek - Beginners
Thursdays 17:00-18:00: 8 weeks from 7 October 2021
For total beginners, a springboard for further study in both language and literature

Book your place

Classical Greek Texts
For advanced level students, focusing on Euripides' "Trojan Women"
Tuesdays 14:00-15:00: 8 weeks from 5 October 2021

Book your place

Late Medieval and Renaissance Latin
10 weeks x 2 terms (Autumn 2021, Spring 2022)
At beginner, intermediate and advanced level
Book your place

Specialised French for Reading Renaissance Texts (beginner and intermediate) & Renaissance French (advanced)
10 weeks x 2 terms (Autumn 2021, Spring 2022)
Book your place

Specialised Italian for Reading Renaissance Texts (beginner and intermediate) & Renaissance Italian (advanced)

10 weeks x 2 terms (Autumn 2021, Spring 2022)
Book your place

Renaissance Italian Palaeography

10 weeks x 2 terms (Autumn 2021, Spring 2022)
Book your place

Latin Palaeography
Fridays 15:00-16:00: 10 weeks from 1 October 2021
Book your place


Classical Reformations: Beyond Christian Humanism

Thurs-Fri 2-3 September 2021: How the literature and ideas of the classical world calibrated early modern Christianity.

Book your Place

Thomas Harriot in Global and Local Contexts: a Quatercentenary Conference

Thurs-Fri 9-10 &16-17 September 2021: Commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of the death of the Renaissance polymath. Organised by the Thomas Harriot Seminar, hosted by the Warburg Institute.

Book your Place

Explore what else is on at the Warburg


Stargates: 'Scientific Utopia versus Magic in the Thirteenth Century' by Nicolas Weill-Parot


In the second half of the Thirteenth Century, a scholastic debate arose around the possibility for an artificial talismanic image to be endowed with the natural powers of the stars (the so-called "astrological images"). Proponents of such a possibility (foremost among them Albert the Great) defended the idea of "natural magic". But another intellectual current is detectable. Roger Bacon proposes to think of this endowment of artificial figures with celestial powers not in reference to some "natural magic" (since he rejects every kind of magic), but in reference to what could be called a "scientific utopia". This different approach concerned talismanic images as well as the magnetic sphere endowed with perpetual motion imagined by Petrus Peregrinus of Maricourt.

'Praise, Virtue, and Fiction of the Court' presented by Ullrich Langer


How is literary representation determined by virtue ethics (and, to a certain extent, ethics by literary representation)? How does the rhetoric of praise enable a certain kind of literary world, and what are the consequences for the representation of persons, settings, and action? Ullrich Langer compares descriptive or epideictic passages from three semi-fictional renderings of courts, spanning the mid-15th century to the second half of the 17th century, namely Antoine de la Sale’s Jehan de Saintré (finished in early 1456), Baldassare Castiglione’s Libro del Cortegiano (1528), and Madame de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Clèves (1678). 

Times of Festival: 'Bernard Palissy and Renaissance festive traditions' presented by François Quiviger


This lecture examines the contribution of the French ceramist, installation artist and naturalist Bernard Palissy (1510-1590) to the festive culture of his time. Palissy’s oeuvre is a blend of experience and vernacular knowledge driven by an intense Calvinist faith, yet he was greatly appreciated by the French Catholic monarchy. Although his work displays little engagement with the symbolic language of Renaissance festivals his plats rustiques featured on royal banqueting tables and his artificial grottoes were part of the marvels French monarchs showed to impress official visitors on festive occasions.
Copyright © 2021 School of Advanced Study, University of London, All rights reserved.

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