Vol. 16 No. 2 (2023): Towards a new “aesthetics of war”? Is Polemos still father of all things?

From allegory to figure and back again

Daniele Guastini
Sapienza Università di Roma

Published 2024-02-06


  • Erich Auerbach,
  • Walter Benjamin,
  • Christian figure,
  • Messianism,
  • allegory

How to Cite

Guastini, D. (2024). From allegory to figure and back again. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 16(2), 81–90. https://doi.org/10.36253/Aisthesis-14634


The aim of the article is to clarify the basic perspective that Immagini cristiane e cultura antica adopted to read the relationship between early Christian iconographic production – the main subject of the book – and the development of the forms of later figurative art, as well as the path leading to modern aesthetics.
For this purpose, the article compares the positions of Auerbach – that had an explicit influence on the book – with those of Benjamin, regarding the different ways in which the two Berliner authors interpreted the meaning and the function of allegory. In Auerbach, allegory is understood as the past of the figura whose logic, according to Immagini cristiane e cultura antica, underlies not only the Christian literary production of the first centuries, but also the figurative one. In Benjamin, conversely, allegory is understood as the future of the figura, followed to the definitive crisis of Christian messianism.


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