Census x Hertziana x Warburg Fellow: Hugh Cullimore

27. September 2023

Between November 2023 and March 2024, Hugh Culli­more will be conduc­ting rese­arch in Berlin, Rome and London as a Census x Hertziana x Warburg fellow. The fellow­ship was first inau­gu­rated as a part­ner­ship between the Census and the Hertziana in 2022, and it now expands for the first time this year to include the Warburg Insti­tute as well.

Hugh Culli­more is curr­ently a PhD student at the Warburg Insti­tute. He completed his BA(Hons) at the Austra­lian National Univer­sity in 2018, which included an award-winning disser­ta­tion on the ancient Egyp­tian icono­logy of the ostrich in Raphael’s Alle­gory of Justice (1519/20) in the Vatican’s Sala di Costan­tino. In 2021/2, He completed his MA in Cultural, Intellec­tual, and Visual History also at the Warburg Insti­tute, with a disser­ta­tion on African and Southeast Asian weaponry in seven­te­enth century Dutch Old Master paintings.

Along­side his PhD, Culli­more curr­ently teaches cura­tor­ship theory at the Univer­sity of South Australia, and has previously taught Art History and Art Theory at the Austra­lian National Univer­sity. He has also held cura­to­rial posi­tions at the Austra­lian War Memo­rial and the Drill Hall Gallery, both in Canberra.

Cullimore’s inte­rests cover nume­rous areas inclu­ding cross-cultural hybri­dity in the Early Modern period, the deve­lo­p­ment of alle­gory, the emble­matic genre, and Egyp­tian revivals.

Hugh Culli­more: Census x Hertziana x Warburg Project

Hugh Culli­more will be working on a PhD entitled ‘From Weasels to Ostri­ches: The Influence of Ancient Egyp­tian Icono­graphy on the Crea­tion and Deve­lo­p­ment of the Emble­matic Genre’. His work during the Census x Hertziana x Warburg fellow­ship will be two-fold: adding to, and editing the ancient Egyp­tian objects within the Census data­base, and crea­ting his own data­base using the Census’s plat­form that will map out the Hiero­gly­phics of Hora­pollo and how know­ledge of this text inspired and informed the emble­matic genre.

The first aspect of Cullimore’s work with Census aims to inform his study on the icono­logy of ancient Egypt and perceived Egyp­tian wisdom during the 15th–16th centu­ries, parti­cu­larly in Italy and Germany. This will directly inform the first chapter of his PhD, buil­ding on the work of Brian Curran to illus­trate how under­stan­ding of Egyp­tian know­ledge was placed within huma­ni­stic circles and how it deve­loped throug­hout this period.

The second, and most signi­fi­cant aspect of Cullimore’s study examines the Hiero­gly­phics of Hora­pollo, which dates to around the fourth century AD, and trans­lated 189 ancient Egyp­tian hiero­gly­phics to ancient Greek. This text was first ‘redis­co­vered’ by Fra Cris­to­foro Buon­del­monti on the Isle of Andros in 1419, brought to Florence in 1422, and was first published in 1505 by the Aldine press in Venice. Cullimore’s study aims to illus­trate just how prolific the influence of this text was on the crea­tion and deve­lo­p­ment of the emble­matic genre with a key focus on the works of Andrea Alciato, Pierio Vale­riano, and Cesare Ripa—some of the genre’s most important authors.

The data­base that Culli­more aims to build will map out each of the hiero­gly­phics in the Hiero­gly­phics of Hora­pollo and when these hiero­gly­phics appear in the works of Alciato, Vale­riano, and Ripa. The final goal of this data­base is develop a concise plat­form through which rese­ar­chers can inter­ro­gate the Egyp­tian influences on the emble­matic genre, and in turn show just how prolific this influence was. This aims to create a resource for future rese­arch into the use and appli­ca­tion of this Egyp­tian icono­graphy by artists using emblem books to inspire their compo­si­tions. Indi­vi­dual case studies deve­loped from the data­base will then form a much of the corpus of Cullimore’s PhD.