The Alchemy of Light: Geometry and Optics in Late Renaissance Alchemical Illustration

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Urszula Szulakowska
BRILL, 2000 - 246 Seiten
1 Rezension
This study concerns the late Renaissance metaphysics of light in its adoption to a Paracelsian alchemical context by John Dee, Heinrich Khunrath, Michael Maier and Robert Fludd. Their alchemical theosophy is contextualised within Protestant reformism of the 1590s to 1620s, specifically that of Valentin Weigel and Johannes Arndt. This results in a re-assessment of the Rosicrucian movement which challenges the existing historiography and problematises the character of the movement. The volume includes fifty illustrations from alchemical treatises of the period, the emphasis being placed on Khunrath's "Amphiteatrum Sapientiae Aeternae" (1595-1609). In an innovative manner, the study investigates these images using analytical tools drawn from semiotics, structuralism and post-structuralism. This method yields an unusual interpretation of the geometry, optical diagrams and spatial structures employed in such alchemical engravings.
 

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Inhalt

The Semiotic Structures of Renaissance Alchemical Imagery
1
The influence of Medieval Optics on Renaissance Alchemy
29
the Monas Hieroglyphica
55
John Dees Conceptual Architecture and Zographie in
71
the 1595
103
The Divine Alchemy of the Eye of God
167
Conclusion
183
Illustrations
201
Index
241
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Über den Autor (2000)

Urszula Szulakowska is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Bretton Hall College (University of Leeds). She has published many scholarly papers on medieval and Renaissance alchemical illustration in journals such as "Ambix," "Chrysopoeia," "Acta Historiae Artium" and "Cauda Pavonis."

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