Humanities Center Colloquium "Warburgian Maxims for Visual Rhetoric"

February 11, 2016 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

"Warburgian Maxims for Visual Rhetoric" is available for review and this is an open session for you to ask the author, David Marshall, questions.  Aby Warburg (1866-1929) was a foundational voice in modern art history and art theory.  Recent archival research reveals that he was also a significant rhetorical theorist.  What are the implications of this discovery for visual rhetoric?  This essay argues that we can now suture Warburg’s great unfinished masterwork, the Bilderatlas Mnemosyne, into the history of rhetorical thought.  Key here is the Warburgian theorization of magnanimity, which means not so much a “generosity of spirit” as a “capaciousness of soul” that manifests itself in diverse body-positionings.  The essay explores this new concept of magnanimity in the context of two examples that visualize what has been termed “the ethical inversion of victor-affect,” and it connects the concept to the best work that has been done by scholars exploring the interconnected intellectual histories of art theory and rhetorical theory.  Synthesizing these primary and secondary source topoi, the essay then mints seven Warburgian maxims for visual rhetoric.

Location and Address

602 Cathedral of Learning