WORDS & IMAGES. The Idea of History and the Mediality of (Early Modern) Culture

Course Status: 
CEU credits: 
Academic year: 
Start and end dates: 
11 Aug 2010
Stream/Track/Specialization/Core Area: 
Culture, Religion and Intellectual History in a Comparative Perspective
György Szőnyi
Assessment : 
Grading is based on 1/ participation in the discussions; 2/ a 10 pages' essay on a cultural representation demonstrating word-image combination – by the help of one of the theories discussed in the course; 3/ a written exam-test.


1. (September 14)

Introduction: History and Culture / Words and Images. Concepts and Definitions

2. (September 28)

Concepts and Definitions [cont.]. Ut Pictura Poesis. Typology of Images

Discussion: Mieke Bal, "Figuration" [pdf]

3. (October 5)

Iconography and Iconology (from Cesare Ripa to Daniel Arasse).

Discussion: Introduction of Ripa's Iconologia [pdf]

4. (October 12)

The Emblematic Way of Seeing (from the Antiquity to the Renaissance emblems).

Discussion: Gy. E. Szönyi, "The ‘Emblematic’ As A Way of Thinking and Seeing In Renaissance

Culture". Check the full version! [pdf]

5. (October 19)

History and Representation in the Emblematic Theatre.

Discussion: Shakespeare: Henry V. The drama and the films of Lawrence Olivier and Kenneth

Branagh. Read Szönyi, "Matching the 'Falles of Princes' and 'Machiavell'..." [pdf]

6. (October 26)

Modern Iconography and Iconology 1 (Aby Warburg – Cultural Archeology).

Discussion: Warburg, "Italian Art and International Astrology in the Schifanoia Palace, Ferrara."

In Warburg, The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity. [pdf]

7. (November 2)

Modern Iconography and Iconology 2 (Erwin Panofsky – the Structure of Understanding).

Discussion: Panofsky, “Iconography and Iconology.” In Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts.


8. (November 9)

Modern Iconography and Iconology 3 (Ernst Gombrich – Symbolic Images).

Discussion: “Icones Symbolicae.” In Gombrich on the Renaissance (London: Phaidon, 1993).


9. (November 16)

Modern emblem studies (Peter Daly, Bernhard Scholz, Daniel Russell).

Discussion: Russell, “Perceiving, Seeing and Meaning: Emblems and Some Approaches to

Reading Early Modern Culture.” In Daly, Manning ed. 1999, 77-92. [pdf]

10. (November 23)

Semiotics, Iconology and Art History

Discussion: Mieke Bal and Norman Bryson, "Semiotics and Art History" [pdf]

11. (November 30)

Postmodern Iconology and the Politics of Images

Discussion: W. J. T. Mitchell; Belting, "Likeness and Presence" [pdf]; Belting, "Image,

Medium, Body" [pdf]

12. (December 7)

Modern semiotics: Umberto Eco. Conventionality, hermeneutics, poststructuralism (extra coding,


Discussion: from Eco, Kant and the Platypus. [pdf]


Bal, Mieke. "Figuration." PMLA 119.5 (2004): 1289-92.

Bal, Mieke and Norman Bryson. "Semiotics and Art History." The Art Bulletin 73.2 (1991): 174- 208.

Belting, Hans. Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image Before the Era of Art. Chicago: niversity of Chicago Press, 1994.

Belting, Hans. "Image, Medium, Body: A New Approach to Iconology." Critical Inquiry 31 (2005): 302-19.

Daly, Peter M., John Manning ed. 1999. Aspects of Renaissance and Baroque Symbol Theory, 1500-1700. New York: AMS Press (AMS Studies in the Emblem 14).

Eco, Umberto. Kant and the Platypus. Essays on Language and Cognition (1997). London:Secker & Warburg, 1999.

Gombrich, Ernst. “Icones Symbolicae” (1948). In Gombrich on the Renaissance. London:Phaidon, 1993.

Panofsky, Erwin. “Iconography and Iconology: An Introduction to the Study of Renaissance Art” (1955). In Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993, 51-82.

Mitchell, W.J.T. Iconolgy. Image, Text, Ideology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986. “Introduction”, “The Idea of Imagery”, pp. 1-47.

Ripa, Cesare. Iconologia. Check: http://emblem.libraries.psu.edu/Ripa/Images/ripatoc.htm; and http://www.levity.com/alchemy/iconol_i.html.

Russell, Daniel. "Perceiving, Seeing and Meaning: Emblems and Some Approaches to Reading Early Modern Culture." In Daly, Manning ed. 1999, 77-92.

Szönyi, György E. "Matching the 'Falles of Princes' and 'Machiavell': Tradition and Subversion in the Historiography and Iconography of Shakespeare's Histories". In Szõnyi & Rowland

Wymer (ed.). The Iconography of Power: Ideas and Images of Rulership on the English Renaissance Stage. Szeged: JATEPress, 2000 (Papers in English & American Studies 8), 5-33.

Szönyi, György E. “The ‘Emblematic’ As A Way of Thinking and Seeing In Renaissance Culture.” E-Colloquia 1 (2003): http://www.ecolloquia.com/issues/200301/index.html.

Warburg, Aby. “Italian Art and International Astrology in the Schifanoia Palace, Ferrara” (1912). In Warburg, The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity. Los Angeles: Getty research Institute, 1999.