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Saxl’s approach to Spanish art: Velázquez and El Greco

Author(s): Karin Hellwig

Journal: Journal of Art Historiography
ISSN 2042-4752

Volume: 5;
Start page: 5;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Fritz Saxl | Velázquez | El Greco | Aby Warburg | German historiography

The paper is an attempt to give a first examination of Fritz Saxl’s research on Spanish art, especially on Velázquez and El Greco. The Viennese scholar, art historian and librarian in the ‘Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg’ in Hamburg since 1920, had studied the paintings of the Spanish masters during a two month sojourn in Madrid in spring of 1927. Saxl conducted his research in preparation for a lecture course on Velázquez and the Spanish painting of the seventeenth century in Hamburg university in the summer semester of 1927. The results of his studies concerns written ‘notes’ on Velázquez and El Greco and photographic material on the later, presented here for the first time. An examination of this material reveals how Saxl is working out lines of development and to query pictoral traditions and models as well as links between Velázquez, El Greco and other European painters of his time. Thus, for his time Saxl shows for the period quite innovative ways and perspectives in the considering the Spanish painting of the Baroque era.

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