Founded by Aby Warburg in Hamburg at the end of the nineteenth century and exiled from Germany in 1933, the Warburg Library attracted the greatest humanist scholars and philosophers of the time – from Erwin Panofsky and Edgar Wind to Ernst Cassirer and Walter Benjamin – and became one of the leading centres in Germany for the understanding of the interactions between images and society across time and space. It transformed the histories of art, literature, and music, and in emphasizing fields such as astrology and magic anticipated many of the developments in the modern understanding of the history of science.
From the outset the Warburg Institute has been notable for its interdisciplinary research extending across the histories of art, science and religion to anthropology and psychology. Its contributions to the epistemological and methodological underpinnings of the histories and theories of culture have been profound and paradigm-changing.
One of the Warburg’s distinctive features has always been its engagement with what are often considered the superstitious, irrational and emotional elements of cultural phenomena. This has enabled some of its most significant contributions to the understanding of both the dynamics and forms of cultural transmission.
The Warburg Library, famous for its powerful and suggestive system of classification, has unique strengths in all these areas, but particularly in the fields of Byzantine, Medieval and Renaissance art, the history of humanism and the classical tradition, Italian history, Arabic, medieval and Renaissance philosophy, and the histories of religion, science and magic.
A hallmark of the Warburg Institute today is its disciplinary openness, which makes it a critical focal point for innovative research across the borderlines between the humanities, the sciences and the social sciences.
1 October 2015 to 31 July 2016:
Monday to Thursday: 10.00 am – 8.00 pm
Friday: 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
Saturday: 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
August and September 2016:
Monday to Friday: 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
Holiday Closure Details
The Institute will be closed for one week at Easter and at Christmas and on the Saturdays immediately preceding the May and August Bank Holidays (see details below).
Christmas 2015/New Year 2016
Thursday 24 December 2015 – Sunday 3 January 2016 inclusive
Offices will close at the end of business on Wednesday 23 December 2015 and re-open on Monday 4 January 2016.
Thursday 24 March 2016 – Tuesday 29 March 2016 inclusive
Early May Bank Holiday
Monday 2 May 2016
Spring Bank Holiday
Monday 30 May 2016
Summer Bank Holiday
Monday 29 August 2016
Christmas 2016/New Year 2017
Monday 26 December 2016 – Monday 2 January 2017 inclusive
Offices will close at the end of business on Friday 23 December 2016 and re-open on Tuesday 3 January 2017.