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Panofsky, Cassirer, and perspective as symbolic form

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Panofsky, Cassirer, and perspective as symbolic form

Neher, Allister (2000) Panofsky, Cassirer, and perspective as symbolic form. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Since its publication in 1924, Erwin Panofsky's Perspective as Symbolic Form has been at the centre of debates in art history about the nature of pictorial space and its relation to lived experience. It is interesting though that despite the central role that this work has been given, no one has been able to provide an adequate account of what Panofsky meant by claiming that perspective is a symbolic form . Panofsky borrowed the term 'symbolic form' from the German neo-Kantian philosopher Ernst Cassirer, who called his philosophy the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms. Most art historians have not been able to make sense of Panofsky's claim because they have not been sufficiently familiar with the Philosophy of Symbolic Forms and the philosophical traditions from which it derives. Other art historians, who have the necessary philosophical background, have maintained however that Panofsky's work was not in any significant sense indebted to Cassirer's philosophy. This dissertation counters that assessment by offering a detailed analysis of what is involved in the claim that perspective is a symbolic form. The analysis unites an exposition of Cassirer's Philosophy of Symbolic Forms with an in-depth study of the philosophical assumptions at work in Panofsky's early art theoretical writings, and demonstrates how Panofsky's claim is in close accordance with both the spirit and Major tenets of Cassirer's philosophy.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Neher, Allister
Pagination:xi, 365 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:School of Graduate Studies
Date:2000
Thesis Supervisor(s):Zeman, Vladimir
ID Code:1077
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:16
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:18
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