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Panofskybegins his argument by defining iconography as a part of art historythat has structure of idea that focuses on a special area ofexpertise1. Thus,the definition directly delineates form from matter in art. Panofskypays attention to the philological habits or the tendency of earlierartist to evade systems using a natural sobriety of the tone. Hepostulates that cognitive models are the incommensurate, but admitsthat there is a distinction between cognition and artisticperception. Panofsky perspective of the symbolic form in art is thatthe order the intellect follows to the perceptible world and thetendency to obey the outcome of the perceptible world as oneperceives it is a universal aspect of cognition2.Panofsky considers the way individuals perceive art through theirartistic consciousness not universal. He considers what becomes ofthe perceptible world as idiomatic because it depends on theindividual’s figuration. In essence Panofsky concludes thaticonology embodies a new version of understanding that complimentsiconography and it extends comprehension of the latter in the contextof a specific cultural process.

Panofskydiffers with Wolfflin’s views, which he refers to as, “largely ananalysis of motifs and combinations of motifs”. The limitations ofWolfflin’s view of art that Panofsky contests include: payingattention to form rather than meaning art. According to Wolfflin,all figures in the painting must balance as a demonstration ofdynamism or being static. Panofsky contends that a work of artconstitutes different meanings especially those conferring to thespirit of the age it belongs. All features include the humanist andfunctional issues that define a work of art.


Hasenmueller,Christine. &quotPanofsky, iconography, and semiotics.&quot Journalof Aesthetics and Art Criticism(1978): 289-301.

ErwinPanofsky, &quotIconography and iconology : An Introduction to theStudy of Renaissance Art.: Originally published in Studies inIconology .Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance.(1972)

1 Hasenmueller, Christine. &quotPanofsky, iconography, and semiotics.&quot Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (1978): 291

2 Erwin Panofsky, &quotIconography and iconology : An Introduction to the Study of Renaissance Art.: Originally published in Studies in Iconology . Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance. (1972), p. 17

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