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Kaschnitz von Weinberg, Guido, Freiherr

    Full Name: Kaschnitz von Weinberg, Guido, Freiherr

    Other Names:

    • Freiherr Guido Kaschnitz von Weinberg

    Gender: male

    Date Born: 1890

    Date Died: 1958

    Place Born: Vienna, Vienna state, Austria

    Place Died: Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany

    Home Country/ies: Austria

    Subject Area(s): ancient, archaeology, and Classical

    Career(s): educators


    Archaeologist and classical art professor, first post-war director of the Deutsches Archaölogisches Institut in Rome; major exponent of strukturprinzip approach to ancient art. Kaschnitz von Weinberg received his doctorate at the University of Vienna under the so-called (first) Vienna school of art history, whose faculty included Max Dvořàk, and Franz Wickhoff. His dissertation, written in 1913, was on Greek vase painting. Kaschnitz served in the Austrian Army during the First World War. Afterward he traveled widely, spending much research time (1923-1927) at the German Archaeological Institute (Deutsches Archaölogisches Institut or DAI) in Rome. During this time he wrote an article distancing his views from those of the Vienna school and advancing a structural methodology for the study of vases (see below). In 1925 he married the writer Marie-Luise von Holzing-Berstett (1901-1974), who took his name. From 1927-1936 he worked on cataloging the ancient Greek art collection of the Vatican. In 1929 he wrote an influential review of the new edition of the Die spätrömische Kunstindustrie of Aloïs Riegl. He taught for one semester at the University of Freiburg before accepting an appointment as Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Königsberg in 1932. At Königsberg he published some of his most significant essays in the structure-analytical (strukturprinzip) mode of the methodology of Riegl, a Vienna-school art historian whom he had never met. These essays included “Bemerkungen zur Struktur der ägyptischen Plastik” (1933). He subsequently was appointed to positions at the universities in Marburg (1937-1940) and Frankfurt (1940-1956). In 1953 he became the first director of the post-war incarnation of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in Rome, which he held until 1955. For the DAI, he resumed publication of the Römische Mitteilungen, which had been interrupted since 1944. He was assisted in this by the young scholar Helga von Heintze. He was succeeded at the DAI in 1956 by Reinhard Herbig. While at work on a synthetic work of ancient art, a project he had devoted some 20 years to, he died. Freifrau von Heintze became his literary executor, publishing his Römische Kunst postumously (1961-1963) as well as his collected writings. Methodologically, Kaschnitz-Weinberg was the closest follower of Riegl. He employed what he termed Struktur-analyse (Strukturforschung) to group works of ancient art, the principles that determined the work of art. A German theoretical notion attempting to replace the concept of style with a spatial structural analysis, it linked the objects to cultural identity. Applying it to a wide range of monuments, Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman, he analyzed the elements of an object’s formal structure which he postulated caused its particular stylistic appearance. Etruscan art in particular benefited from his early articles using this approach. Kaschnitz-Weinberg used this approach in a long series of articles in the 1920s and 30s (mostly in the Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archaölogischen Instituts, Römische Abteilung) contrasting his analysis with what he felt was the traditional, more subjective approach to art. This enthusiasm for “structural analysis” (distinct here from the post-modern use of the term) is a form of Riegl’s concept of Kunstwollen. Use of this method enabled Kaschnitz-Weinberg’s to conclude, among much else, that all ancient Greek architecture derived from the phallic cult brought to the south by Indo-Germanic tribes. His approach was typically to conclude an entire world-view from the analysis of a few core monument or objects of the culture. He further asserted that Roman architecture is founded on subterranean mother earth worship where the underground chambers represented the womb (Die Mittelmeerischen Grundlagen, 1944). The influence of his thought is most noticeable in the writing of Friedrich Matz (1890-1974) and Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli.

    Selected Bibliography

    Ausgewählte Schriften. Edited by Helga von Heintze. 3 vols. Berlin: Gebrüder Mann, 1965; [review of Alois Riegl, Spätrömische Kunstindustrie] Gnomon 5 (1929): 195-213; Ludwig Curtius: das wissenschaftliche Werk. Baden-Baden: B. Grimm, 1958; Marcus Antonius, Domitian, Christus. Halle (Saale): M. Niemeyer, 1938; Die mittelmeerischen Grundlagen der antiken Kunst. Frankfurt am Main: V. Klostermann, 1944; Römische Kunst. Edited by Helga von Heintze. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1961-1963; Sculture del magazzino del Museo Vaticano. Rome: Vatican City, 1936-1937; “Bemerkungen zur Struktur der ägyptischen Plastik” Kunstwissenschaftliche Forschungen 2 (1933): 7ff., English, “Remarks on the Structure of Egyptian Sculpture (1933).” in The Vienna School Reader: Politics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s. Christopher White, ed. New York: Zone Books, 2000, pp. 199-241.


    Blanckenhagen, Peter H. von. “Necrology” American Journal of Archaeology 63 (1959): 87; Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Research Guide to the History of Western Art. Sources of Information in the Humanities, no. 2. Chicago: American Library Association, 1982, p. 19 mentioned, 85-86, 123; Kleinbauer, W. Eugene. Modern Perspectives in Western Art History: An Anthology of 20th-Century Writings on the Visual Arts. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971, p. 21 mentioned, 84; Bazin, Germain. Histoire de l’histoire de l’art; de Vasari à nos jours. Paris: Albin Michel, 1986, pp. 347-48; Archäologenbildnisse: Porträts und Kurzbiographien von Klassichen Archäologen deutscher Sprache. Reinhard Lullies, ed. Mainz am Rhein: Verlag Philipp von Zabern, 1988: 248-249; The Vienna School Reader: Politics and Art Historical Method in the 1930s. Christopher White, ed. New York: Zone Books, 2000, pp. 198; Homann-Wedeking, E. “Kaschnitz-Weinberg, Guido von (1890-1958).” Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology. Nancy Thomson de Grummond, ed. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, vol. 1, p. 629-30.


    "Kaschnitz von Weinberg, Guido, Freiherr." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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