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Erwin Panofsky Born in Hanover Erwin Panofsky studied at the universities of Berlin Munich and Freiburg Breslau receiving his PhD in 1914 from the University of Freiburg He taught at the universities of Berlin Munich and Hamburg from 1920 to 1933 and during this period Panofsky started to develop the iconological matching the subject-matter of works of art to a symbolic syntax of meaning drawn from literature and other art works approach to art history in his lectures and publications Panofsky immigrated to the United States in 1934 the Nazis assumption of power in Germany forced Jews out of his academic positions and he joined 1935 the faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton NJ The Ideological Antecedents of the Rolls-Royce Radiator was written in 1962 and first published in 1963 In this essay he explained how the national identity of England twelve centuries of Anglo-Saxon preoccupations and aptitudes influenced to the famous car radiator The radiator in question is composed of a classical temple front surmounted by a forward-leaning female figure in windswept drapery We might assume that the sculptor remembered the figure of Nike of Paionios descending in billowing folds on the Doric pediment at Olympia but Panofsky seeks its ideological antecedents in the national spirit of the English He claims to discern in the history of English art a constant interaction of what has been called wild Celtic fancy and the deep feeling and good sense of the Nordic races Accordingly Panofsky attributes to English Gothic architecture three important innovations epitomizing their two contrasting principles the first representing a triumph of the irrational the second a triumph of the rational the third a triumph of both the decorative and the perpendicular style standing for the first and second the fan vault for the third
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