Warburg Institute Archive, GC, Richard Krautheimer to Fritz Saxl, 27.9.1945
Poughkeepsie New York
September 27, 1945
Professor Fritz Saxl
University of London
The Warburg Institute
Imperial Institute Buildings
South Kensington, London S.E. 7
Many thanks for your note of September 10th. It was awfully nice to have you here, and I hope very much you will return around Christmas. You intimated the possibility and I am transforming it in my hopes into reality. I trust I shall feel fresher than I did when you were here in the summer’s heat and at the end of a rather wearing year.
Thanks for your notes on the Sacrifice of Abraham. They will be useful, I’m sure, when I go into the question of the iconography of the competition reliefs. I have progressed somewhat on my work on Ghiberti. The summer vacations were helpful but too short. Altogether, I wonder whether the whole thing will result in a complete monograph on old Lorenzo or whether it will be just a series of studies, a volume of Ghibertiana. I rather incline towards the latter, not that I’m lazy, but there is just too damn much we don’t yet know and can’t find out without spending years on the most interesting but hardly accessible by-paths. Just during these last weeks I tried to instruct myself somewhat on questions of early 15th century knowledge of antique art. But, as you know, the difficulties are really enormous. We don’t know what the early 15th century collections contained aside from the collections of the Medici and of Pietro Barbo; no corpus has been published of the antiques extant in Italy during the 15th century and important epistolarii are still wanting, not only Poggio’s (aside from the old Tonnelli edition) but Dondi’s, of whose letters only Morelli’s excerpts of 1820 are still known. I wish something could be done about it. Don’t you know a young man who would simply make an edition of these Dondi letters? The only manuscript is in the Marciana, and the job shouldn’t be too hard. And couldn’t we try to organize a corpus of antiques known to the 15th century? I wish we could discuss it when you come here this winter.
Many thanks for thinking over the problem of technical terms in the Liber Pontificalis. I agree with you that both Wormald and Roger Mynors are excellent. Trude and I will work out a preliminary list of some difficult terms and send it over.
Thank you again. Give our best to Bing and to the other fellows.
Yours as ever,