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Art Diary

Berlin Works from Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas

31 July 2020

While some museums remain shuttered due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Apollo’s usual weekly pick of exhibitions will include shows at institutions that are now reopening as well as digital projects providing virtual access to art and culture.

Started in 1927 but never finished, Aby Warburg’s encyclopaedic Bilderatlas Mnemosyne was an ambitious attempt to identify and track the ‘afterlife’ of motifs from Western antiquity in art from subsequent cultures. A forthcoming exhibition at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin will reconstruct the panels on which Warburg originally displayed his research, in the form of photographic reproductions of artworks and other printed material (4 September–30 November). In the meantime, visitors to the city’s Gemäldegalerie will encounter a different kind of restaging: around 50 historic artworks drawn from the collections of the Berlin State Museums, photographs of which Warburg included in his sections on the themes of the cosmos and pathos. The exhibition opens on 8 August, closing on 1 November. Find out more from the Gemäldegalerie’s website.

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Judith and her maidservant (1489), Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Judith and her maidservant (1489), Domenico Ghirlandaio. Photo: Christoph Schmidt. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie

Sculpture of Hekate or Prudentia (c. 1500).

Sculpture of Hekate or Prudentia (c. 1500). Photo: Antje Voigt; © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst

Poster reading "If you eat fish, you will stay slim, healthy and fresh"

‘If you eat fish, you will stay slim, healthy and fresh’ poster (1927), Walter Reimer. Photo: Knud Petersen. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek 

Laocoön and his sons being attacked by serpents (16th century), Marco Dente.

Laocoön and his sons being attacked by serpents (16th century), Marco Dente. Photo: Volker-H. Schneider; © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett