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Naming the Graces

Charles Hope, 15 March 1984

The Art of Humanism 
by Kenneth Clark.
Murray, 198 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 0 7195 4077 1
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The Eloquence of Symbols: Studies in Humanist Art 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 135 pp., £25, January 1984, 0 19 817341 5
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... Kenneth Clark did more than anyone else to create an interest in the art of Renaissance Italy, but Edgar Wind had a much greater influence on the way in which this art has been studied. Both men were outstanding lecturers and gifted writers, and both, in very different ways, were influenced by the work of Aby Warburg. Both, too, were particularly drawn to ...


Pat Rogers, 6 November 1986

Hume and the Heroic Portrait: Studies in 18th-Century Imagery 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 139 pp., £29.50, May 1986, 0 19 817371 7
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Augustan Studies: Essays in honour of Irvin Ehrenpreis 
edited by Douglas Lane Patey and Timothy Keegan.
University of Delaware Press, 270 pp., £24.50, May 1986, 9780874132724
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The 18th Century: The Intellectual and Cultural Context of English Literature 1700-1789 
by James Sambrook.
Longman, 290 pp., £15.95, April 1986, 0 582 49306 4
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... disease off the page? Do not despair. There is a remedy. The second posthumous volume of Edgar Wind’s essays outdoes even its sumptuous predecessor in intellectual glitter and academic burnishing. Only 120 large pages of text, but they come with 124 plates; in the ratio of historical weight to linear extent they must constitute the densest ...


Anthony Grafton: Warburg, 1 April 1999

... assumptions about the independence of intellectual disciplines. Ernst Cassirer, Erwin Panofsky, Edgar Wind and many others who joined the new university in Hamburg in the Twenties did remarkable research work here before 1933, when the Institute’s members fled, along with its books, to London. Warburg himself had died in 1929, the bulk of his ...

At the HKW

Chloe Aridjis: Aby Warburg, 5 November 2020

... was contested among his heirs. When Ernst Gombrich called him a ‘man lost in a maze’, Edgar Wind rose to his defence. ‘No doubt there was some obsessional quirk in Warburg’s over-extravagant habit of preserving all of his superseded drafts and notes, thus swelling his personal files to gargantuan proportions, with comic side effects that ...

Goddesses and Girls

Nicholas Penny, 2 December 1982

... and sometimes perhaps in arcane mysteries, but the impressive detective work of scholars such as Edgar Wind which has been so extensively imitated is now recognised as often inappropriate. It helps to read Ovid (Titian himself seems to have used translations), but there is no need to read Hermes Trismegistus in order to understand Titian’s great ...

Botticelli and the Built-in Bed

Anthony Grafton: The Italian Renaissance, 2 April 1998

Behind the Picture: Art and Evidence in Italian Renaissance 
by Martin Kemp.
Yale, 304 pp., £25, November 1997, 0 300 07195 7
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... to the innovative nature of their work. From the Thirties to the Sixties, Panofsky, Gombrich, Edgar Wind and many others created an art history of exactly this kind – one that directed much of its attention to the erudite programmes Renaissance artists had realised in both religious and secular painting. The pioneers of what came, misleadingly, to ...
The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age 
by Simon Schama.
Collins, 698 pp., £19.95, September 1987, 9780002178013
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... Iconography is a notoriously controversial art. The confidence of the age of Erwin Panofsky and Edgar Wind has given way to doubt and conflict. In no area is this latterday dispute between iconoclasts and iconodules so vigorous or so sharp as in the field of 17th-century Dutch art, long taken to be a paradigm case of descriptive realism. It was the ...

Rabbits Addressed by a Stoat

Stefan Collini: Émigré Dons, 13 July 2017

Ark of Civilisation: Refugee Scholars and Oxford University, 1930-45 
edited by Sally Crawford, Katharina Ulmschneider and Jaś Elsner.
Oxford, 396 pp., £75, March 2017, 978 0 19 968755 8
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... Oxford established its chair of the history of art in 1955, the two candidates – Edgar Wind and Otto Pächt – were both Jewish refugee scholars’: in terms of schools or approaches, Oxford was choosing between Hamburg and Vienna. Or again: ‘When an Italian scholar was asked in the 1950s which was the best German department of ...

Looking at the Ceiling

T.J. Clark: A Savonarolan Bonfire, 22 September 2005

The Mirror of the Gods: Classical Mythology in Renaissance Art 
by Malcolm Bull.
Allen Lane, 465 pp., £30, April 2005, 9780713992007
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... The demands of actual patrons were crude, and easily fulfilled without the aid of large books. Edgar Wind remarks towards the end of his Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance – the kind of study of the subject Bull is determined not to write – that the modern art historian’s great armoury of learned suggestions is not meant to imply that most ...

Neutered Valentines

David Bromwich: James Agee, 7 September 2006

‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, ‘A Death in the Family’, Shorter Fiction 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 818 pp., $35, October 2005, 1 931082 81 2
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Film Writing and Selected Journalism 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 748 pp., $40, October 2005, 1 931082 82 0
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Brooklyn Is 
by James Agee.
Fordham, 64 pp., $16.95, October 2005, 0 8232 2492 9
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... from one another in silence. A girl bounces a fat ball on the cement over and over and over. The wind is freshening and the sloped light is turning gold. Birds speak with each other in the hushed leaves and in the wind there are the soft calls of children, but these noises are blown by the ...

Byron at Sixty-Five

Edwin Morgan, 8 January 1987

... comedy; but the comedy’s high You must admit: palazzo, contessa, and I. Hear how the north wind batters at the pane! A spot of grog’s the thing for nights like this – Not too much seltzer. Sailors on the main Have grog for birthdays – victories – and Christmas – And I’m a sailor – and I’ve no champagne – So here’s to Doctor ...

Show People

Hugh Barnes, 21 February 1985

So Much Love 
by Beryl Reid.
Hutchinson, 195 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 09 155730 5
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Knock wood 
by Candice Bergen.
Hamish Hamilton, 223 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780241113585
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... her father’s. On the second occasion Ronald Reagan gave the memorial address. Her father was Edgar Bergen, whose ventriloquist dummy, Charlie Macarthy, was the star of American radio before the war. The early chapters, which deal with the triangular relationship between father, daughter and wooden doll, are the best. Bergen skilfully describes the ...

Veronese’s ‘Allegories of Love’

T.J. Clark: Veronese, 3 April 2014

... written by the woman in the middle to the man towards the left – the ‘soft musing poet’, as Edgar Wind imagined him, sweating in a pink silk number, ‘with some of the obesity of a coloratura tenor’. The little winged Eros stands at the clavichord nearby, ready to play continuo to his young master’s next outpourings. The poet looks to the sky ...

Getting on

Joyce Carol Oates, 12 January 1995

Colored People: A Memoir 
by Henry Louis Gates.
Viking, 216 pp., £16, January 1995, 0 670 85737 8
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... by the gifted black writers Brent Staples (Parallel Time: Growing Up in Black and White) and John Edgar Wideman (Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race and Society). One wonders what Gates’s fate might have been if he had been born in a black urban ghetto, and not in Piedmont, West Virginia. Among other things, Colored People is a testament to ...


Craig Raine, 13 June 1991

Constance Garnett: A Heroic Life 
by Richard Garnett.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 402 pp., £20, March 1991, 1 85619 033 1
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... can also stand for what is sometimes gained in translation. For instance, the French open up Edgar Allan Poe and out pops Baudelaire. Here, what has been lost in translation – Poe’s energetic vapidity – represents an enormous gain. Equally, the new-style doll will cover plagiarism, the original sin. For example, Baudelaire’s essay, ‘...

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