Michelangelo’s Design Principles, Particularly in Relation to Those of Raphael
The first English edition of Erwin Panofsky's long-lost work on Michelangelo
In 2012, a manuscript by renowned art historian Erwin Panofsky was rediscovered in a safe in Munich, in the basement of what is now the Central Institute for Art History. Hidden for decades among folders and administrative files was Panofsky's thesis on Michelangelo―submitted to Hamburg University in 1920, abandoned when Panofsky fled Hitler's Germany in 1933, and thought to have been destroyed in the Allied bombings. Michelangelo's Design Principles makes this remarkable work available for the first time in English, a century after the original version was written.
Casting Panofsky's thought in an entirely new light, Michelangelo's Design Principles is the legendary scholar's only book-length examination of the art of the Italian Renaissance. He provides a compelling analysis of Michelangelo's artistic style and deftly compares it with that of Raphael, situating both Renaissance masters in the broader context of Western art. This illuminating book offers unique perspectives on Panofsky's early intellectual development and the state of research on Michelangelo and the High Renaissance at a period of transition in art history, when formalist readings of artworks began to take precedence over a biographical approach.
Featuring an introduction by Gerda Panofsky that discusses the history of the original manuscript and the significance of its rediscovery, Michelangelo's Design Principles is a crucial link between Panofsky's formalist training as a young art historian and his later work in iconology.
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