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Warburg Insti­tute Archive, GC, Richard Kraut­heimer an Fritz Saxl, 27.9.1945

Vassar College 
Pough­keepsie New York

September 27, 1945

 

Professor Fritz Saxl 
Univer­sity of London 
The Warburg Insti­tute 
Impe­rial Insti­tute Buil­dings 
South Kensington, London S.E. 7

Dear Saxl:

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,

                                                                                                               Richard Kraut­heimer