The journal is included in Web of Science (ISI Web of Knowledge) | Scopus | EBSCO | ARTbibliographies Modern | Design and Applied Arts Index | European Science Foundation (European Index for the Humanities – ERIH)

Jan Dienstbier

Erwin Panofsky a česká ikonologie

This paper focuses on the reception of Erwin Panofsky’s iconological method in Czechoslovak art history at the end of the fifties and beginning of the sixties of the 20th century. It shows how iconology was understood to be the natural outcome of the Geistgeschichte of Max Dvořák and also how it was received positively as an approach that made it possible to perceive in art the manifestations of the rules of the Marxist-oriented theory of historical development. The very category of intrinsic meaning which Panofsky puts forward is com- pliant with this approach. A work understood as a sort of condensation of the ‘fundamental principles and attitudes of a nation, era or class’ could, as opposed to a work result- ing from autonomous artistic development, become the theme of a new Marxist art history striving simultane- ously to overcome the original dogmatism of the Stalinist period at the beginning of the fifties. In the promotion of these approaches a fundamental role was played in particular by the generation of young art historians coming to the fore in the field at precisely this time (such as Rudolf Chadraba, Jaromír Neumann, Karel Stejskal or Josef Krása). The paper briefly reviews the later foreign criticism of the iconological approach and shows that the Czech ‘Marxist’ iconology need not be understood merely as the denial of the original iconological principles, but in a certain sense rather as their fulfilment. In this direction only the Marxist philosophy of history, understood in one way or another, replaced the concept of humanism which Erwin Panofsky wished to make the axis of his approach. These observations then serve at the end of the article for considerations regarding the extent to which the former iconological structures and standpoints still survive even in contemporary Czech art history.

< back