Friday, October 28, 2005

Khunrath Alchemy

"Was helffn Fackeln, Liecht oder Brilln,
Wann die Leute nicht sehen wölln?"


The Four, The Three, The Two and The One.

The Cosmic Rose

There seems to be little known about the life of German Doctor Heinrich Khunrath (1560-1605) [possibly aka: Professor Henricus Conrad Lips]. But it is clear that he held the contrary opinions that illumination could be forged through spiritual alchemy whilst asserting the importance of empirical data. It appears he pursued a sort of religious hermetical practice and his book, that popularized his beliefs to an extent, Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae or Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom was first published c. 1595.

There is some elucidation on the symbology behind the images here in the links below.
With respect to those images..
"The emblematic depth of the engravings Khunrath wanted for his major work put considerable demand on the artists and engravers employed for the project. The four circular plates Khunrath designed for his Amphitheatrum sapientiae aeternae, were evidently engraved by Paullus van der Doort. Of these four, we know that the drawing of the laboratory depicted here was made by the architectural painter Hans Vredman de Vries (1527-1604). Jan Diricks van Campen signed Khunrath's portrait included in the volume, and probably also engraved the title page and the rectangular folding plates included in the book."

Alchemist's Laboratory

"What good are torches, light, or spectacles,
to those who will not see?"


Sage said...

Very cool pics - are they sigils?

pk said...

Um..I guess that depends on personal attitude. Anything can become a magical symbol with a particular frame of reference.

I would think that Khunrath was hoping to embody his philosophies in them so I guess that suggests yes.

But I'm attracted to the artistic/symbolic features ostensibly. Others can make of the occult elements what they will. I push no barrow save for one of aesthetic values (I hope).

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