Data: 21 Ago a 9 Set 2023
Horário: 21 of August from 14h00 to 17h00 | 23, 28, 29, 30 and 31 of August and 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 of September from 14h00 to 16h00
Duração: 25h | 2 ECTS
Área: Comunicação, Política, Linguagem e Filosofia
Docente responsável: João Luís Lisboa
Docente: Fabio Tononi
Acreditação pelo CCPFC: Não
This course will be taught e-learning




This course aims at investigating the aesthetics of Aby Warburg (1866–1929) by analysing some of his most important works. Students will develop adequate critical and analytical skills by reading philosophical and interdisciplinary texts on topics concerning interdisciplinary research, cultural memory, empathy, style, symbols, and the biology of images. Furthermore, students will learn to orient themselves in aesthetic thinking, addressing the following questions: How can we explain the recurrence of certain patterns in the history of art? What is the role of biology in cultural memory? What is the role of biology and psychology in the creation of styles? What does it mean to undertake interdisciplinary research?




Aby Warburg was a German philosopher and historian and theorist of art and culture. Warburg’s major achievements are the widening of the discipline of art history to include all types of artefacts, and the transformation of the pre-existing study of styles and schools into a transcultural oriented historical discipline. He called this discipline Kulturwissenschaft (the science of culture), himself a Bildhistoriker (image historian), and his method iconology: a combination of the study of word and image that relied on merging a historical with a meta-historical approach to various forms of visual expression. Warburg’s pioneering meta-historical turn of the study of art owed much to contemporary psychology, anthropology, and the analysis of religious beliefs. The course is structured as follows:

CLASS ONE (21 August, 14h-17h)
First Teachers and Studies (1886–88)
Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (Selected parts).

CLASS TWO (23 August, 14h–16h)
The Dissertation on Botticelli (1888–91)
Warburg, Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Spring.

CLASS THREE (28 August, 14h–16h)
Beyond Art History (1891–97)
Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (Selected parts).

CLASS FOUR (29 August, 14h–16h)
The Afterlife of Antiquity
Warburg, The Emergence of the Antique as a Stylistic Ideal in Early Renaissance Painting.
Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (Selected parts).

CLASS FIVE (30 August, 14h–16h)
The Conflict of Styles as a Psychological Problem
Warburg, Artistic Exchanges between North and South in the Fifteenth Century.
Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (Selected parts).

CLASS SIX (31 August, 14h–16h)
The Stars (1908–14)
Warburg, Italian Art and International Astrology in the Palazzo Schifanoia, Ferrara.
Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (Selected parts).

CLASS SEVEN (1 September, 14h–16h)
The Lecture on Serpent Ritual (1918–23)
Warburg, A Lecture on Serpent Ritual.

CLASS EIGHT (4 September, 14h–16h)
The Theory of Social Memory
Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (Selected parts).

CLASS NINE (5 September, 14h–16h)
The Life of Symbols (1926–29)
Warburg, Durer and Italian Antiquity.
Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (Selected parts).

CLASS TEN (6 September, 14h–16h)
The Last Project: Mnemosyne
Warburg, Der Bilderatlas Mnemosyne.
Warburg, The Absorption of the Expressive Values of the Past.
Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (Selected parts).

CLASS ELEVEN (8 September, 14h–16h)
The History of Warburg’s Library (1886–1944)
Warburg, From the Arsenal to the Laboratory.
Saxl, The History of Warburg’s Library (1886–1944).

CLASS TWELVE (9 September, 14h–16h)
Edgar Wind’s Interpretation of Aby Warburg’s Research
Wind, Warburg’s Concept of Kulturwissenschaft and Its Meaning for Aesthetics.
Wind, On a Recent Biography of Warburg.




  • Ernst Gombrich, Aby Warburg: An Intellectual Biography (London: The Warburg Institute, 1970).
  • Edgar Wind, ‘Warburg’s Concept of Kulturwissenschaft and its Meaning for Aesthetics’, in The Eloquence of Symbols: Studies in Humanist Art, ed. by Jaynie Anderson (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press and Clarendon Press, 1983), pp. 21-35.
  • Aby Warburg, The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity: Contributions to the Cultural History of the European Renaissance, trans. by David Britt (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1999).
  • Claudia Wedepohl, ‘Mnemonics, Mneme and Mnemosyne. Aby Warburg’s Theory of Memory’, Bruniana & Campanelliana, XX(2) (2014), pp. 385-402.
  • Fabio Tononi, ‘Aby Warburg, Edgar Wind, and the Concept of Kulturwissenschaft: Reflections on Imagery, Symbols, and Expression’, The Edgar Wind Journal, 2 (2022), pp. 38-74.




The course and readings will be entirely in English, therefore an intermediate knowledge of the English language is required.


tuition fees


For more details see table in informações úteis.




Fabio Tononi is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for the Humanities (CHAM) in the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (FCHS) of NOVA University of Lisbon, and has taught two courses – Philosophy, Science and the Question of Reality (2023) and Postmodernism (2023) – at the Centro Luís Krus – Formação ao Longo da Vida in the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (FCSH) of NOVA University of Lisbon. He is the editor-in-chief of the Edgar Wind Journal, and a steering committee member of the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory at the Institute of Modern Languages Research, which is part of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. His research interests include the essence and tasks of philosophy and science, the writings of Aby Warburg and Edgar Wind, the aesthetics of Sigmund Freud, the relationship between art and cognitive neuroscience, the interconnection between art and ideology, and postmodernism. In 2020, Tononi was the convenor of the Aby Warburg Reading Group and Seminar at the Italian Cultural Institute of London. In 2021, Tononi received a Ph.D. from the Warburg Institute in the School of Advanced Study of the University of London. He held an internship at Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. During his career, he has participated in over 30 conferences and seminars in highly competitive and international venues. His publications include: Edgar Wind: Art and Embodiment, ed. by Fabio Tononi, Jaynie Anderson, and Bernardino Branca, Oxford, Peter Lang (Under contract).

  • Centro Luís Krus – Formação ao Longo da Vida
  • Cursos da Escola de Verão (EV)