The Warburg Institute runs an active programme of lectures. All of which are free and open to everyone (unless otherwise stated).


Cosimo I de’Medici and Granducal Florence Lectures

The continuing lecture series at the Warburg Institute, Cosimo I De’Medici and Granducal Florence, celebrates the 500th anniversary of Cosimo I de’ Medici’s birth by bringing together scholars from across the humanities to discuss Cosimo’s achievements in art, architecture, statecraft, scholarship and culture.

12 June 2019 - January 2020

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Maps and Society Lecture Series

A series of lectures in the history of cartography

October 2019 - April 2020

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Academic Refugees in the 1930s: In and Around the Warburg Circle

22 October, 5:30pm - 7pm | Presented by Professor Elizabeth Sears, University of Michigan

Having accepted the necessity of exile, as they ventured into the unknown refugees had massive practicalities to contend with. This talk draws on archival materials, especially relating to the activities of the Society for the Preservation of Science and Learning (SPSL), to reconstruct procedures (forms to fill out, testimonials to supply, etc.) and to indicate the nature of the help émigrés received from organizations and individuals in Britain and the United States. In 1933 the SPSL helped the Warburg Library and staff leave Hamburg and transfer to London to become the Warburg Institute. This institution in turn played a major role in offering advice and helping academic refugees in relevant fields to find their way.

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A not-so-recent Archaeological Discovery in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (and some new perspectives on French mid-13th century Gothic sculpture)

14 November, 5:30pm - 7pm | Presented by Dr Xavier Dectot, National Museums Scotland

Visitors to the Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey church in Paris will find, on a red metal column at the entrance of the liturgical choir, a broken sculpture of the Virgin and Child. Many medieval sculptures still extant are damaged, yet this sculpture is not simply broken - in fact, it was never finished, and its importance in the artistic landscape of the 13th century has still not been fully assessed.

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The Tenant's Future: re-inscribing the Warburg Institute

19 November, 5:30pm - 7pm | Presented by Professor Tim Anstey, Oslo School of Architecture and Design​

From the Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg in Hamburg, to the amazing scheme that Aby Warburg and Fritz Saxl worked out for the Hamburg Planetarium, as well as the many other various schemes for new buildings that Saxl, Henri Frankfort and Bing worked on, architectural projects occupied these directors of the Warburg Institute during twenty-five out of thirty-four years.  

In these buildings and interiors, patterns of use were continually invented, re-inscribed and adapted. This lecture provides a slide-show of some of that history and suggests how the experience of earlier environments, and the experience of commissioning them, is built in to the design of the Institute’s current building on Woburn Square. 

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Of Buildings and Books: The Oechslin Library and Foundation

12 December, 5:30pm - 7:30pm

On the occasion of the publication of a comprehensive guide to Architectural Theory in Early Modern Germany, Werner Oechslin joins us to discuss his library and foundation. Created in partnership with ETH in Zurich, and designed by Mario Botta around Oechslin’s home in Einsiedeln, the Oechslin Library and Foundation is both an exemplary piece of library architecture and a comprehensive library of books on architecture and other subjects. Werner Oechslin will talk to Prof Bill Sherman (Director of the Warburg Institute) about the creation of this extraordinary institution, followed by a short roundtable discussion to celebrate the publication of Architekturtheorie im deutschsprachigen Kulturraum 1486-1648.

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