During the late Renaissance – around 1570 – humanists developed a new “shorthand” way of representing the world at a single glance: personifications of the four continents Europe, Asia, Africa and America. While the continent allegory as an iconic type had already been invented in antiquity, humanists and their artists adapted the concept by creating the four-continent scheme and standardized the attributes characterizing the continents. During the next 230 years until ca. 1800, this iconic scheme became a huge success story. All known media were employed to bring the four continent allegories into the public and into people’s homes. Within this prolonged history of personifications of the continents, the peak was reached in the Late Baroque, and especially the 18th century. As a pictorial language they were interwoven with texts, dogmas, narratives and stereotypes. Thus the project team find himself asking: What did continent allegories actually mean to people living in the Baroque age?
Recently, several thousand photos of church interiors from Southern Germany have been uploaded into the Warburg Institute Iconographic Database (http://iconographic.warburg.sas.ac.uk), where they can be freely downloaded. Some 20,000 more images are waiting to be added. It is planned to link this collection with the Corpus der Barocken Deckenmalerei.
Following the principles of the Warburg Institute Photographic Collection, the metadata focusses on iconography. We describe subject-matter in a hierarchical system that allows us to place related subject-matters next to each other. In contrast to ICONCLASS, our system is flexible so that we can easily create new categories to describe innovative iconographies, which are so common in the Baroque. We include material in all media and from all countries (with a focus on Europe from Classical Greece to about 1800), so allowing users to note connections across time, space and materials. An entry on a painting in the crossing of Fürstenfeld Abbey may give an idea of our approach:
In addition to presenting our own photographs (up to now, only the sections on Mythology and Astrology of our Photo Collection have been systematically digitized), we also collaborate with other projects to make digitized material findable through iconographic classification. We have therefore evolved from being a digital photo collection towards a global iconographic research portal. A good example are our entries on some illuminated manuscripts from the Munich Staatsbibliothek, such as the Salzburg Missal.
Because European mural paintings often contain rich and complex iconographies and are comparatively little known, we would be very interested in collaborating with projects that are engaged in cataloguing them.
Das Generalthema des Schwerpunktes ist die visuelle Kultur der habsburgischen Repräsentation und der Versuch, diese in ihren unterschiedlichsten Ausformungen zu entschlüsseln. Unter „Repräsentation“ verstehen wir die Vergegenwärtigung von Abwesendem durch unterschiedliche Medien (z.B. durch Wappen, Bilder, Skulpturen, Medaillen, Deckenmalereien), aber auch durch symbolische Interaktion bzw. statische oder performative Kommunikation (Architektur, Raumordnung, Einzug des Herrschers, Fest). Im Zentrum steht dabei die Frage, in welcher Weise habsburgische Repräsentationsstrategien in Kunst und Architektur in den Österreichischen Erblanden sowie in den böhmischen Ländern und Ungarn zum Ausdruck kommen. Continue reading Die visuelle Kultur der Habsburgischen Repräsentation→
The main objective of the centre is a cross-disciplinary analysis and interpretation of mechanisms, which may explain the cultural-historical reality throughout its long duration from the Middle Ages up to the resent. The centre intends to develop a synergistic link between research teams in the cultural-historical field at universities in Brno and Olomouc, which have for some time now been prominent in their use of such approaches. In addition there is also the intention to draw on cooperation with the most important Czech Republic researchers as well as with leading experts abroad (Wroclaw, Vienna, Paris, Lausanne). In this sense the project endeavours to link up various methodological approaches with subjects in the field, which will be monitored within the particular modules: The theory and practice of cultural-historical disciplines; Image, cult, space; Imagination, image and text; Representation, places of memory. Outputs from the project will be a series of monographs, articles and a final, methodologically targeted volume, in which all the modules will be involved.