Vol. 9 No. 1 (2016): Aesthetics of streaming

Fisiologia del gesto. Fonti warburghiane del concetto di Pathosformel

Published May 6, 2016
  • Aby Warburg,
  • Charles Darwin,
  • Paolo Mantegazza,
  • mimicry
How to Cite
Murano, J. (2016). Fisiologia del gesto. Fonti warburghiane del concetto di Pathosformel. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 9(1), 153-175. https://doi.org/10.13128/Aisthesis-18240


This article investigates the nineteenth-century notions of expression and mimicry in natural science. It will focus especially on Aby Warburg's concept of Pathosformel. My archival research at the Warburg Institute in London showed that Warburg was interested in Paolo Mantegazza’s theories about mimicry and expression (1831-1910). A prominent physician and anthropologist, Mantegazza developed the views that Charles Darwin expressed in his work The expression of the emotions in man and animals (1872). In this paper I will explore how mimicry can perform an expressive and a physical function at the same time: gestural forms reflect a primitive disposition of the relation between man and world and represent the deepest layer of communication. I will show how the body can be considered as a metaphor of this early bond.


Metrics Loading ...