Photograph of Natacha Rambova


Photograph of Natacha Rambova  [ edit ]

Born Winifred Kimball Shaughnessy on January 19, 1897, Natacha Rambova pursued a number of diverse careers, achieving considerable success in each. She adopted her Russian name while a ballet dancer, and later became a costume and set designer in 1920's Hollywood, helping create the screen persona of the famous silent movie actor Ruldolph Valentino, whom she also married. Throughout her life, Rambova had an interest in ancient Egypt, and began writing and researching Egyptian religious iconography in 1946, with the support of the Bollingen Foundation; she also collected Egyptian antiquities, such as the predynastic bull's head amulet to the right. She contributed to the field of Egyptology by helping to publish several books documenting Egyptian monuments, such as the tomb of Ramesses VI, and wrote an important introduction to the Egyptian Mythological Papyri. Rambova believed that Egypt was the root of all wisdom and secret knowledge, going so far as to associate Egypt with mythical Atlantis. She spent the final years of her life in Connecticut where she worked on two unpublished manuscripts that sought to collect religious iconography from around the world. Like Athanasius Kircher and other Hermeticists before her, she was searching for archetypal symbolism with roots in ancient Egypt.




Natacha Rambova Archive, Yale University

Credit Line

Gift of Prof. Edward Ochsenschlager in memory of Prof. Donald P. Hansen