1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9.1 9.2 *

Panel B

Introduction (1 of 3)
1 of 3 | Guide: Spyros Papapetros

The panel of panels: a panel that does not simply trace relations between individual images, but a composite frame inside which each individual image illustrates the most fundamental relation of all, the rapport between man and the cosmos, the original correspondence that encompasses all other analogical associations that comprise Warburg’s atlas. If indeed the three (or more) preliminary panels constitute a syntactical frame for the rest of the Mnemosyne atlas, then panel B constitutes the center of this cosmic syntax (Imbert, 3 and Johnson, 26) . While panel A illustrates a universal network of bifurcating diachronic connections (such as transcontinental migration routes and genealogical trees) and panel C depicts the conversion of early modern cosmology into a scientific system (and its early twentieth-century aftermath in the transcontinental flights of the Zeppelin), panel B regresses to an archaic cosmological belief system embodied in a singular icon: man in the cosmic circle. Here all linear networks, all movements, all relations between earthly and planetary bodies are centered on the fulcrum of the human figure which constantly negotiates its limits within the overwhelming forces of the universe. Such is the centripetal-centrifugal power of the microcosmic figure whose various iterations from the Zodiac or planetary man to the so-called Vitruvian man populate Panel B. The three introductory panels (A, B, and C) ostensibly trace a certain geometric sequence: from line (pathway), to circle (macrocosm), to sphere (earth as a solid geometric body) extending progressively in space, yet as with all things Warburgian, such spatial progression is disrupted and perpetually rearranged by a number of circuitous reversals.