Ústav dějin umění Akademie věd ČR, v. v. i.

A Forgotten Media Interest: Erwin Panofsky and Photography

We cordially invite you to the lecture from the cycle Collegium historiae artium, which will be given by Camilla Balbi (ÚDU AV ČR) on the topic of A Forgotten Media Interest: Erwin Panofsky and Photography.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 4.30 pm in the Institute of Art History CAS, room 117, Husova 4, Prague 1.

This talk by Dr. Camilla Balbi delves into the persona of Erwin Panofsky, one of the most important art historians of the last century, from a new, mediological perspective. Drawing from Balbi’s forthcoming book, “Erwin Panofsky and Modernity: Painting, Photography and Film”, the discussion will focus on Panofsky’s exploration of the photographic medium. A remarkable aspect of this analysis lies in Panofsky’s efforts to understand the medium beyond its artistic realm. The pages devoted to the interplay between painting and photography extend to medial considerations of their social applications, be they scientific or museological. This exploration navigated the urgent theoretical debates of the time, engaging in dialogue with renowned personalities such as Max Sauerlandt, Siegfried Kracauer, and Heinrich Schwarz.

The lecture unfolds the historical and theoretical layers in Panofsky’s writings on photography. It deals with the interplay between originality and reproduction and the nexus between knowledge and visualization. Finally, the lecture explores the impact of Panofsky’s exploration of photographic technique on the birth of iconology, revealing a surprising connection between his reflections and the ethos of contemporary Bildwissenschaft.

This lecture will also be available online. For the Zoom link, please contact us at:

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