Sunday, March 19, 2006

Splendor Solis

The illustrated alchemical work, Splendor Solis 'The Splendor of the Sun' is a famous 16th century vellum manuscript with 22 ornately illuminated paintings, together with less memorable text. It is said to have been produced by Salomon Trismosin who was supposedly the tutor of Paracelsus.

There are ~20 extant versions, the earliest of which is held by a museum in Berlin. Adam McLean tells us that the allegorical emblems featured relate to birth/death themes and transformation of animals into the King and Queen, with the flasks representing the planets. An early 17th century French copy is well known as La Toyson d'or.

Although all the plates are at the Levity site, larger and better quality versions have been posted (they are all copies from a single source - the British Library's 1582 copy) by Hermetics [single large image per page], Chrysopée [full sized images, all on a single page] and Gnostic Media -which have thumbnail views over 2 pages.
Wikipedia have quoted Adam McLean verbatim without reference and also don't provide a citation for stating that Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein were sources for the images (what they say is ambiguous really). So I wouldn't be relying on this account.

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