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'Panofsky and Wittkower on Alberti: Divergent Receptions of De Re Aedificatoria I, 10'

Daniel Sherer (Visiting Lecturer in Architectural History, Princeton University School of Architecture; Visiting Professor in Architectural History and Theory, Iuav)

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 relationship between the column and the wall, one can trace different ways of reading the afterlife of classical architectural theory and practice in Alberti’s theorization of the orders along with diverse aims of art and architectural history from the Weimar Republic to the present.

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, 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 is Visiting Professor at the Iuav, University of Venice, Dipartimento Culture del Progetto.  

This event is part of the Director's Seminar Series, which brings leading scholars and writers to the Institute to share new work and fresh perspectives on key issues in their fields.


Wine reception to follow.

Image: Alberti, Palazzo Rucellai, with detail of Composite capital atop pilaster. Photograph by Steven Zucker, Smarthistory (2014)