Description of Rosarium illustrations

Back to Rosarium Philosophorum.


First edition De Alchimia opuscula complura veterum philosophorum... 2 partes in 1... Rosarium philosophorum. Secunda pars alchimiĉ de lapide philosophico vero modo prĉparando... Frankfurt, 1550.
Illustrations in 1550 edition:-
  • 1. Woodcut on titlepage (in some editions this is coloured). 110x88mm. Figure 17
  • from the Rosarium, printed from same block.
  • 2. f1r Woodcut of titlepage of Rosarium philosophorum. 110x88mm. Six philosophers hold a discussion. One points to a fire burning on the ground. Banners proclaim "solve coagula" and "solvite corpora in aquas".
  • 3. f5v Woodcut 1 of Rosarium series. 104x85mm. A fountain stands upon three feet. From three spouts water falls into the basin. The fountain is framed by four six-pointed stars which are placed in two columns of smoke which rise on the right and left of the fountain. Another star is set above the fountain, and is framed by the sun and moon. Above this a double headed dragon or snake attempts to devour the stars.
  • 4. f10r Woodcut 2 of Rosarium series. 107x75mm. A King on the left standing upon the Sun, reaches out with his left hand and grasps the left hand of a Queen standing upon the Moon. The King and Queen hold out in their right hands, branches with leaves that criss-cross each other. From a six-pointed star above a bird descends holding abrance in its beak, which it interesects with those of the King and Queen.
  • 5. f14r Woodcut 3 of Rosarium series. 115x82mm. The King and Queen from the previous emblem, now stand naked. The King holds out his branch in his right and the Queen in her left hand, and now grasp the leafy tips of each others branch with their left and right hands respectively. From above a bird descends holding another branch.
  • 6. f18v Woodcut 4 of Rosarium series. 79x81mm. The King and Queen now sit in a hexagonal bath, holding their branches in the same configuration as in the previous figure. From above a bird descends bearing another branch.
  • 7. f23v Woodcut 5 of Rosarium series. 72x89mm. The Conjunction, Coniunctio or Coitus, of the King and Queen occurs in a pool of water. Beside them in the water are the Sun and Moon.
  • 8. f28r Woodcut 6 of Rosarium series. 58x89mm. The Conception or Putrefaction. A hermaphrodite or conjoined King and Queen lies as if dead in a sepulchre filled with water.
  • 9. f32v Woodcut 7 of Rosarium series. 98x88mm. The Extraction or Putrefaction of the Soul. The hermaphrodite or conjoined King and Queen still lies as if dead in a sepulchre. A small male spirit rises into clouds.
  • 10. f39r Woodcut 8 of Rosarium series. 89x86mm. The Washing or Mundification. The hermaphrodite or conjoined King and Queen still lies as if dead in a sepulchre. Drops of rain descend on the body from the clouds above.
  • 11. f43r Woodcut 9 of Rosarium series. 98x89mm. The Rejoicing or Springing or Sublimation of the Soul. The hermaphrodite or conjoined King and Queen still lies as if dead in a sepulchre. On the ground below, a bird standing on the ground approaches another buried in the ground with only its head showing. A small female spirit descends from the clouds above.
  • 12. f48r Woodcut 10 of Rosarium series. 107x88mm. A winged hermaphrodite stands upon a Moon and holds in its right hand a chalice or cup within which are three snakes. In its left hand it holds a coiled snake or serpent. On the left of the hermaphrodite is a Moon tree with 13 Moon flowers. To the right is a crow.
  • 13. f54r Woodcut 11 of Rosarium series. 84x88mm. The Fermentation. A further conjunction (as in emblem 5) of the King and Queen, now winged, occurs in a pool of water.
  • 14. f60r Woodcut 12 of Rosarium series. 90x86mm. The Illumination. A winged Sun hovers above a sepulchre filled with water.
  • 15. f64v Woodcut 13 of Rosarium series. 74x86mm. The Nourishment. A winged hermaphrodite or conjoined King and Queen lies as if dead in a sepulchre filled with water. (Compare with emblem 6).
  • 16. f67r Woodcut 14 of Rosarium series. 105x89mm. The Fixation. The hermaphrodite or conjoined King and Queen (now having lost its wings) still lies as if dead in a sepulchre. A small female spirit rises into clouds. (Compare with emblem 7).
  • 17. f73v Woodcut 15 of Rosarium series. 89x89mm. The Multiplication. The hermaphrodite or conjoined King and Queen still lies as if dead in a sepulchre. Drops of rain descend on the body from the clouds above. (Compare with emblem 8).
  • 18. f77v Woodcut 16 of Rosarium series. 104x88mm. The Reviving. The hermaphrodite or conjoined King and Queen still lies as if dead in a sepulchre. A small female spirit descends from the clouds above.
  • 19. f82v Woodcut 17 of Rosarium series. 110x88mm. The Demonstration of Perfection. A hermaphrodite with bat-like wings, stands upon a small hill in which three snakes attempt to devour each other. It holds in its right hand a cup or chalice within which are three serpents, and its its left hand a coiled snake. Behind it is a lion. On the left is a Sun tree with thirteen Sun flowers, while on the right a pelican nourishes its young with its own blood.
  • 20. f86r Woodcut 18 of Rosarium series. 56x87mm. The Green Lion devours the Sun. Blood descends to the earth.
  • 21. f90v Woodcut 19 of Rosarium series. 112x88mm. Christ holding sceptre and the Father holding on orb, together hold a crown above the head of a young woman, the Virgin. Above her head a bird of the holy Spirit hovers.
  • 22. f95r Woodcut 20 of Rosarium series. 115x83mm. Christ holding aloft a banner rises from a sepulchre, his hand raised in a gesture of blessing.
Later editions:
Auriferae artis, quam chemiam vocant, antiquissimi authores, sive Turba philosophorum. Basel, 1572.
Artis auriferae, quam chemiam vocant.... Basel, 1593. [Illustrations. Woodcut. 71x71mm. Frontispiece to 'Turba philosophorum' re-used from 1572 edition. Twenty figures from the Rosarium philosophorum, recut from the original 1550 edition, but with minor variations. All are approximately 70x70mm.
Artis auriferae, quam chemiam vocant.... Basel, 1610. [Illustrations reused from the 1593 edition.]
Turba Philosophorum; das ist, das Buch von der Güldenen Kunst... Basel, 1613.
Turba philosophorum, das ist, das Buch von der güldenen Kunst... Vienna, 1750.
Turba philosophorum, das ist, das Buch von der güldenen Kunst... Vienna, 1752.
Jean-Jacques Manget. Bibliotheca chemica curiosa... Geneva, 1702.