In 1935 Erwin Panofsky (1892-1968) was appointed the first ‘permanent member’ of the School of Humanistic Studies (now the School of Historical Studies) at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. The famous institute was founded by the American educator Abraham Flexner (1866-1959). This essay contributes to the content and context of Panofsky’s important lecture “The History of Art as a Humanistic Discipline” from1938. The publication of that lecture functioned as a manifesto written by an intellectual émigré in a new American context. It is thanks to Panofsky that the locus classicus of iconography, as Irving Lavin (1927-2019) described the Institute for Advanced Study, received the compelling arguments for an “art history that deserves to be counted among the humanities.” A close reading of the text and an analysis of its impact can still teach us something about the origins and development of the Art Historical field and Iconological Studies today.
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