I have known about this interesting manuscript for about 20 years. It dates from the late 17th or early 18th century and contains a Latin text and ten emblematic coloured paintings. Unfortunately I don't have access to the text, but luckily I have some copies of the illustrations from one of the four manuscripts known to me - Yale, Uberlingen, Prague and the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica.
The Mellon Catalogue says of the copy in Yale.
Marcus Eugenius Bonacina. Compendiolum de praeparatione auri potabilis veri. [Composed at Austerlitz in 1616 according to the dedicatory epistle directed to Laszlo Wellen, an imperial counsellor and chamberlain to Archduke Maximilian.]
The manuscripts however, seem all to date to the 18th century. Yale's is said to be c. 1790.
I would very much like to publish an edition of this in my Magnum Opus series as I find the images very engaging. As with many alchemical emblem series, this involves a series of bird symbols that appear to be taken through a transformation.
Nothing appears to be known of Bonacina or of the history of this work. I would welcome any information that anyone could share.
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Last edited on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 09:47 pm by alchemyd
I have today received some information about Bonacina.
Marcus Eugenius Bonacina (1570-1621) grew up in Italy, his father was a lawyer. He studied medicine in Milan. During the years 1618 - 1621 he lived in Moravská Tøebová (Märische Trübau) , now in the Czech Republic, where he was invited by an important nobleman in Moravian politics, Ladislav Velen from Zerotin. M.E. Bonacina's alchemical tractate Compendium de praeparatione auri potabilis veri was dedicated to his benefactor. There is another tractate written by him, and copies of both are in the National Museum in Prague.
Last edited on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 10:41 am by adammclean
A contact in the Czech Republic kindly sent me a scan of one of the images from the Bonacina manuscript in Prague. One can immediately that it is17th century rather than the 18th century of the other manuscripts to which I have had access. It could even be contemporary with Marcus Eugenius Bonacina himself.
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Last edited on Mon Feb 18th, 2008 04:48 pm by adammclean
Thanks to the kind assistance of a colleague in the Czech Republic I have now obtained microfilms of the two versions of the work by Bonacina in Prague. These are MS. Skeny XI C 42 and MS. Skeny XI H 61.
XI C 42 appears to be written in the 17th century. It is set up like a printed book, with dedicatory epistle and a Preface to the Reader. The title is set out as Compendiolum de praeparatione Auri Potabilis Veri M.E. Bonacina. D. Medici Mediol. I have not been able to locate a printed book under this title, so I will have to assume that this is not a copy of a printed work but rather the author's holograph or a copy of this set up for the printer, or a one off presentation copy to Bonacina's benefactor Ladislav Velen.
The illustrations are not particularly skilled pen drawings which could even be by Bonacina himself.
The text is in relatively easy Latin and in a good legible hand so it could be possible to have it translated and published.
The second manuscript, XI H 61, is probably a little later. The illustrations are by a more skilled artist, who is able to model the forms.