Past Event

Collins/Kaufmann Forum: Daniel Sherer 'Panofsky and Wittkower on Alberti: Divergent Receptions of De Re Aedificatoria I, 10. (with An Excursus on the "Alberti Revival" in Modern Architecture)'

February 6, 2024
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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934 Schermerhorn Hall

Alberti’s De Re Aedificatoria has been the object of highly varied, at times contrasting receptions since its completion in 1452. By comparing two of the more important 20th century readings of this text in the Warburg tradition put forward by Erwin Panofsky in 1925 and by Rudolf Wittkower in 1949, on the relation between the column and the wall, one can trace different interpretations of the afterlife of classical architecture in Alberti’s theorization of the orders along with diverse aims of art and architectural history from the Weimar Republic to the present.

In addition, an unexpected light is shed on this double reception by Wittkower's intense cultivation of the practice of architectural drawing, an integral part of his early training to become an architect in 1919, at a point in his career before he decided to become an art historian.  Wittkower excelled in particular in drawing the orders both on their own terms and in relation to the wall—a specifically Albertian theme. This moment in his trajectory is, moreover, closely linked to a phenomenon, which has been largely overlooked by scholars, that can be called "the Alberti Revival" in modern architecture in Weimar Germany, Austria-Hungary and Scandinavia from Peter Behrens and Josef Frank to Alvar Aalto.

Dr. Daniel Sherer (PhD Harvard, History of Art and Architecture, 2000) is Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at Princeton School of Architecture, where he has taught since 2018. Previous appointments include Columbia GSAPP, Harvard GSD, Yale School of Architecture, Cooper Union, and Cornell AAP. Dr. Sherer's areas of research include Italian Renaissance and Baroque architecture, modern receptions of the classical tradition, Modern Architecture, with an emphasis on Italian modernism, intersections between contemporary art and architecture, and historiography and theory, with an emphasis on Manfredo Tafuri, whose Ricerca del Rinascimento: Principi, Città, Architetti he translated (Interpreting the Renaissance: Princes, Cities, Architects, Yale University Press, 2006). In addition to lecturing internationally, he has published widely in European and American journals including Artforum, AA Files, Assemblage, JSAH, Log, Perspecta, and Zodiac. In 2018 he curated the exhibition Aldo Rossi: The Architecture and Art of the Analogous City, at Princeton SoA. In 2023 he was Visiting Professor at the IUAV, University of Venice, Dipartimento Culture del Progetto.