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Stargates - The Magic of Images from Heka to the Monas Hieroglyphica

A lecture series dedicated to the material aspects of making magical images

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Stargates - The Magic of Images from Heka to the Monas Hieroglyphica is a lecture series dedicated to the material aspects of making magical images, including the arsenal of objects and media which allow the maker to manipulate the flow of stellar influences. The roots of the question are Egyptian; they lie buried in a passage of the hermetic text, Asclepius, which explains how Egyptian priests “make gods” by shaping images able to attract the souls of the stars. Herbs, stones and aromas “which have an occult virtue of divine efficacity”, words, sounds and fumigations are the other ingredients of this magic panoply, which has been discussed and enriched from Antiquity to the Renaissance and beyond.

Considering small portable talismans and large artworks, this lecture series features seven leading scholars who offer a broad historical perspective. Combining a wide range of disciplines including archaeology, history, art history, anthropology, philosophy and cultural history, they will discuss both the “making” and the “mechanism” of these stargates, capable of bringing the stars down to earth.

Following a chronological sequence in order to underline the transformations, continuities, and discontinuities from ancient to “modern” practices, this lecture series builds on the legacy of the Warburg Institute scholars D.P. Walker and Frances Yates.

Our two final lectures will be focusing primarily on magic images.

Organised by Luisa Capodieci (Frances A. Yates Long Term Fellow, Warburg Institute).