Religion Past and Present

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(391 words)

[German Version]

The term “iconology” is derived from Greek εἰκονολογία/eikonología, to “speak in images.” It originally referred to a corpus of iconographical elements (allegories, symbols, attributes, emblems, etc.) for use in artists' workshops and was thus roughly equivalent to a “science of symbols” – as prominently documented in the enormously successful illustrated compendium Iconologia by Cesare Ripa (1593). Nowadays, however, the term designates a method of art history that was introduced by the cultural scientist Aby Warburg around 1900 …

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Beyer, Andreas, “Iconology”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 28 October 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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