The Wolfgang Born – Kondakov Institute correspondence : art history, freedom, and the rising fear in the 1930s

Variant title
Korespondence Wolfganga Borna s Kondakovovým institutem : dějiny umění, svoboda a vzrůstající strach ve třicátých letech 20. století
Source document: Convivium. 2019, vol. 6, iss. 2, pp. [128]-135
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
Rights access
fulltext is not accessible
Between 1931 and 1934, German artist and art historian Wolfgang Born exchanged several letters with the Kondakov Institute in Prague. Written during the troubled years of rising nationalism in Europe, these letters tell both part of Born's story and, indirectly, of the Russian émigré institute itself. Born's life story, until his forced emigration, allows us to question the role of culture at large when the society is under invasive political threat. It shows a trajectory from a vast, interconnected, intellectual milieu towards a fragmented world of émigré scholars. Above all, this epistolary exchange highlights how similar questions on the origins of artistic forms arose in humanistic milieus across Europe. It also illustrates how the rising totalitarian regimes attempted to shoehorn those inquiries into propagandistic, racist narratives.
Summary language
  • This text was carried out as part of the project "The Heritage of Nikodim P. Kondakov in the Experiences of André Grabar and the Seminarium Kondakovianum" (Czech Science Foundation, Reg. No. 18-20666S).