"La Rivista di Engramma (open access)" ISSN 1826-901X

199 | febbraio 2023


A Presentation of “The Edgar Wind Journal”

Bernardino Branca


Founded in 2021 by Bernardino Branca and Fabio Tononi in conjunction with the Conference Edgar Wind: Art and Embodiment, “The Edgar Wind Journal” is a biannual, peer-reviewed and international journal, in open access format. Its focal aim is to promote interdisciplinary and transcultural research and debate on the philosopher and cultural historian Edgar Wind (1900-1971) and his themes of enquiry.

Born and raised in Berlin, Wind spent his formative years under the guidance of scholars such as Julius von Schlosser in Vienna, and Erwin Panofsky and Ernst Cassirer in Hamburg. In 1924, he went to America, where he came into contact with Pragmatist philosophy. Between 1928 and 1929, he worked with Aby Warburg at the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg in Hamburg, as Wissenschaftlicher Assistent. Following the rise of Nazism in Germany, Wind was instrumental in securing a safe place in London for the Warburg Library and its staff members. As a scholar, he also played a key role at the Warburg Institute and in the Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, until his departure in 1945. He taught at Chicago University and at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. From 1955 to 1967, he was Professor of History of Art at Oxford University. In 1958, Wind published his most famous book Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance, with several editions in eight different languages.

One of the most original features of Wind’s research is the concept of Verkörperung, that is, the embodiment of metaphysical ideas into images, originally conceived in Experiment and Metaphysics (1934). In stark contrast to the Formalist approach to art history, he underscored the role played by meaning and symbols in art. Moreover, Wind shared Warburg’s interest in the survival of classical antiquity in Renaissance allegorical imagery. In addition, Wind wrote on modern art, discussed the political uses of images, and provided advice and inspiration to artists such as Pavel Tchelitchew (1898–1957) and Ronald B. Kitaj (1932–2007).

“The Edgar Wind Journal” welcomes innovative articles discussing Edgar Wind’s works and research interests from different perspectives and approaches, including, but not limited to, aesthetics, anthropology, biology of art, cultural history, history of art, history of ideas, and intellectual history.

The Edgar Wind Journal, volume 1

This issue inaugurates the Edgar Wind Journal, which is dedicated to the works and research interests of the historian and theorist of art and culture Edgar Wind (1900-1971). The foundation of a journal is always a challenge, entailing a declaration of intent. Our belief is that fifty years after his death, Wind’s remarkable achievements deserve new attention. Wind explored a variety of themes (for example the afterlife of antiquity, the role of symbols in art, and portraiture), historical figures (for example Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Ronald Brooks Kitaj), and disciplines, contributing to the study of Art History, Cultural History, and the History of Science. Wind’s opus requires further study in connection to his cultural context and in light of recent advancements and methodologies in the study of images and Cultural History.

Fabio Tononi and Bernardino Branca
Introduction: Edgar Wind and a New Journal, 1-11.

Bernardino Branca
“The Giordano Bruno Problem”: Edgar Wind’s 1938 Letter to Frances Yates, 12-38.

Guido Boffi
On Form: Wind and Warburg Examined, 39-54.

Gioachino Chiarini
Time and Space in Dante’s Inferno: The Invention of Dante’s Clock, 55-66.

Ben Thomas
Freedom and Exile: Edgar Wind and the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 67-85.

Fabio Tononi
The Problem of the Unfinished and the Shaping of the Canon of Finiteness in the Italian Renaissance, 86-127.

The Edgar Wind Journal, volume 2

The second issue is inspired by the conference Edgar Wind: Art and Embodiment, organised by Bernardino Branca and Benjamin Thomas at the Italian Cultural Institute of London on 28 and 29 October 2021. The aim of this issue is to reflect on a number of themes and concepts investigated by Edgar Wind throughout his intellectual career. Many of his works, both in philosophy of science and art history, contain the elements that generate one of his main philosophical contributions: the notion of embodiment.

Fabio Tononi and Bernardino Branca
Edgar Wind: Art and Embodiment, 1-8.

Jaynie Anderson
Edgar Wind and Giovanni Bellini’s ‘Feast of the Gods’: An Iconographic ‘Enfant Terrible’, 9-37.

Fabio Tononi
Aby Warburg, Edgar Wind, and the Concept of Kulturwisswenschaft: Reflections on Imagery, Symbols, and Expression, 38-74.

Monica Centanni
The Rift between Edgar Wind and the Warburg Institute, Seen through the Correspondence between Edgar Wind and Gertrud Bing. A Decisive Chapter in the (mis)Fortune of Warburgian Studies, 75-106.

Gioachino Chiarini
Time and Space in Dante’s Purgatorio, 107-132.

The Edgar Wind Journal, volume 3

This third issue of the Edgar Wind Journal takes as a departing point that cultural memory is a result of “socialization and customs” (J. Asmann, J. Czaplicka, Collective Memory and Cultural Identity, “New German Critique” 1, 65 (Spring–Summer 1995), 125) rather than a biological phenomenon and is characterized by “its distance from the everyday”. Memory studies is an emerging yet prolific scholarly field. As a “transdisciplinary phenomenon”, cultural memory may assume different meanings. How does historical material survive through time? What do we mean when we speak of the “survival of the classics”? Studying the reception of ancient, medieval and Renaissance material is as important as studying the sources themselves. Staing from Wind’s explanation of Aby Warburg’s understanding of cultural memory, this issue, by adopting a cross-disciplinary approach, aims to answer the questions posed by Wind in the English introduction to A Bibliography on the Survival of the Classics:

When we speak of ‘survival of the classics’, we mean that the symbols created by the ancients continued to assert their power upon subsequent generations; —but what do we mean by the word ‘continue’? Is their significance constantly retained? Or is it not rather forgotten at times, regained and transformed at others? And what are the conditions, what are the effects of ‘forgetting’ and ‘remembering’? (Edgar Wind, Introduction, in A Bibliography on the Survival of the Classics London 1934, I, VIII).

Giulia Maria Paoletti
Introduction, 1-3.

Colin Eisler
Oxford’s Art-Historical Circus: Life as a Henry Fellow at Magdalen College 1952-3, 4-13.

Jaynie Anderson
‘Posthumous Reputations’: Edgar Wind’s Rejected Review of Ernst Gombrich’s Biography of Aby Warburg, 14-35.

Stefano Farinelli
Edgar Wind and Michelangelo’s Battle of the Centaurs: A ‘Romantic Affection’ for the Centaurs, 36-46.

Gioachino Chiarini
Time and Space in Dante’s Paradiso, 47-72.

Francesco Monticini
A Nostalgic Gaze Towards Antiquity: The So-Called ‘Palaiogan Renaissance’, 73-91.

The Edgar Wind Journal, volume 4. Sixtieth Anniversary of Edgar Wind’s Art and Anarchy, Call for Papers.

This year, 2023, marks the sixtieth anniversary of Art and Anarchy (E. Wind, Art and Anarchy, London 1960). In the words of Jaynie Anderson:

Its critical reception was extraordinary, without comparison for its range and success. [Wind] knew how to use the medium of radio to inspire so many different people and to make everyone think about theory, theories that went across the arts of all time and in all countries” (J. Anderson, Understanding Excessive Brevity: The Critical Reception of Art and Anarchy, in Edgar Wind: Art and Embodiment, edited by J. Anderson, B. Branca, F. Tononi, London 2023).

Art and Anarchy covers the multifarious yet closely linked topics of Wind’s lifelong studies. At first glance, the subtle arguments in each of the book’s six chapters generate complexity and difficulty, but they are instrumental in understanding the central issue that infuses Wind’s entire intellectual biography: connecting ideas with images. In a 1952 letter to the Guggenheim Museum, Wind wrote:

For some twenty years, my chief interest has been to explore the boundaries between the histories of art and of philosophy. My aim has been to demonstrate that in the production of some of the greatest works of art, the intellect has not thwarted but aided the imagination; and I have tried to develop a method of interpreting pictures which shows how ideas are translated into images, and images sustained by ideas (Wind Archive, Bodleian Library, Oxford, MS Wind 216, 1, 2).

With this in mind, “The Edgar Wind Journal” invites scholars to submit a contribution that focuses on one of the topics covered in the six Reith lectures that eventually became the chapters of Wind’s seminal book: I Art and Anarchy, II. Aesthetic Participation, III. Critique of Connoisseurship, IV. The Fear of Knowledge, V. The Mechanization of Art, and VI. Art and the Will.

Alternatively, scholars may wish to address the footnotes in subsequent editions of Art and Anarchy, some of which constitute miniscule essays in their own right.

Non-native English speakers are encouraged to submit their contributions directly in Italian, German or French; the chosen texts will be translated into English at the Journal’s expense and submitted to the authors before publication. Authors are reminded that the Journal’s submission guidelines, referencing format and ethical code are available on the Submissions page of www.edgarwindjournal.eu. Contributions must be sent to submissions@edgarwindjournal.eu by 30 September 2023.


Bernardino Branca presents “The Edgar Wind Journal” a international journal, in open access format. The journal aims is developing the reseach and debate on Edgar Wind and his themes of enquiry. In this contribution the author presents a summary of the first three issues of the journal.

keywords | Edgar Wind; Warburgkreis; Art and Anarchy.

doi: https://doi.org/10.25432/1826-901X/2023.199.0011