Emmanuel Alloa
Université de Fribourg
Erwin Panofsky’s essay “Perspective as Symbolic Form” from 1924 is among the most widely commented essays in twentieth-century aesthetics and was discussed with regard to art theory, Renaissance painting, Western codes of depiction, history of optical devices, psychology of perception, or even ophthalmology. Strangely enough, however, almost nothing has been written about the philosophical claim implicit in the title, i.e. that perspective is a symbolic form among others. The article situates the essay within the intellectual constellation at Aby Warburg’s Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek in Hamburg, and analyzes the role of Ernst Cassirer’s philosophy of symbolic forms for the members of the Warburg circle. Does perspective meet the requirements for becoming a further “symbolic form,” beyond those outlined by Cassirer? The article argues that, ultimately, perspective cannot possibly be a symbolic form; not because it does not meet Cassirer’s philosophical requirements, but rather, because that would uproot Cassirer’s overall project. While revisiting Panofsky with Cassirer unearths the wide-raging philosophical implication of the essay, revisiting Cassirer with Panofsky means to highlight the fundamentally perspectival nature of all symbolic forms.
Keywords Ernst Cassirer  Immanuel Kant  Erwin Panofsky  perspectivity  aesthetics  art  perception
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DOI 10.1080/20539320.2015.11428459
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References found in this work BETA

The Scientific Basis of Leonardo da Vinci's Theory of Perspective.M. H. Pirenne - 1952 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 3 (10):169-185.
Iconic Turn: A Plea for Three Turns of the Screw.Emmanuel Alloa - 2015 - Culture, Theory, and Critique 56 (3).
Sprache und Mythos.Ernst Cassirer - 1925 - Annalen der Philosophie Und Philosophischen Kritik 5 (1):13-13.

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The World in Ruins : Heidegger, Poussin, Kiefer.Benjamin Andrew - 2017 - Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology 4 (2):101-123.

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Cassirer, Panofsky, and Warburg: Symbol, Art, and History.Silvia Ferretti & Richard Pierce - 1990 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 48 (3):267-267.
E. Cassirer's Concept of Symbolic Form.R. Maco - 2001 - Filozofia 56 (1):25-41.


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