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Saturn with watering can
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Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Tue Jun 30th, 2009 08:36 am
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The attached image comes from the on-line book by Alanah Fitch(the link to it was posted by Paul Ferguson in the Bibliography section in May). The author just says it comes from the book From Caveman to Chemist by Hugh W. Salzberg (OUP 1991). If anyone has that book at hand, I would be grateful for checking the original source of the image.

Attached Image (viewed 1425 times):

saturn-watering.jpg

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Mon Jul 6th, 2009 08:13 am
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Dear Rafal,

Here is her e-mail addy should you wish to contact her direct:

afitch@luc.edu


Paul

Leigh Penman
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 Posted: Sun Jul 26th, 2009 11:21 am
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Hi Rafal, they have the book in the chemistry library down here, I will chave a look for you in the morning!

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Sun Jul 26th, 2009 01:54 pm
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Hi Paul and Leigh,

I emailed Alanah Fitch right after Paul posted her address but so far she has not responded.

In the meantime I found it on abebooks at 1.99 USD, so I ordered it (apparently half of it is somehow related to alchemy but seems to be written with a positivist approach from the descriptions I've seen). Anyway, Leigh, if does not take too much of your time, I shall be grateful for checking it tomorrow :-)

Best regards,

Rafał

 

 

 

Leigh Penman
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 Posted: Mon Jul 27th, 2009 10:27 am
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Hi Rafal,

I'm not surprised you haven't gotten a response from Alanah Fitch ... mainly because she didn't write the book in question!

Anyway, I looked at the copy here. The image appears on p.37. The caption reads: "Allegorical representation of lead as a slow, crippled old man (because of lead's density). The representation is a woodcut dating from the renaissance."

The source is given as the "Bettmann archive", which is a photo archive similar to Getty Images. You might be able to find the image on their website, although its perhaps best to write to the Bettmann people direct.

Unfortunate that Salzberg didn't provide a direct source! But good luck with the hunt! The book itself is a bit of a dog, too, I have to say. $1.99 seems about right.

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Fri Aug 21st, 2009 11:57 am
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Hi Leigh,

Just for the update -- I contacted Corbis who administer the Bettman archives. The Polish branch replied instantly (even two persons wrote to me independently) but they could not find the image. They advised to contact the US Corbis central and supplied the email address. I did -- but got no reply.
The image certainly comes from a printed book (text on the other side of the page can be seen on the reproduction available). But I would be interested whether it was pre-Maier or post-Maier :-)
Does anyone know of other images or textual references to Saturn watering trees?

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sat Aug 22nd, 2009 12:49 pm
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Rafal T. Prinke wrote:
Hi Leigh,

Just for the update -- I contacted Corbis who administer the Bettman archives. The Polish branch replied instantly (even two persons wrote to me independently) but they could not find the image. They advised to contact the US Corbis central and supplied the email address. I did -- but got no reply.
The image certainly comes from a printed book (text on the other side of the page can be seen on the reproduction available). But I would be interested whether it was pre-Maier or post-Maier :-)
Does anyone know of other images or textual references to Saturn watering trees?


I searched the Corbis website pretty thoroughly and I couldn't find anything either.

Sendivogius, in his 'Novum lumen chemicum' (1604), depicts Saturn as a gardener. This image is taken over by Michael Maier in his 'Symbola aureae mensae duodecim nationum'), who also shows Saturn as having one leg amputated at the knee. There is some discussion of this (and, I think, an illustration) in Jan Reed's Burlington Magazine article 'Some Alchemical Engravings':

http://www.jstor.org/pss/869001

Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Sat Aug 22nd, 2009 09:53 pm
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.

Good day Rafal,

I haven’t gone through Alciat and C. De Ripa, but this bookseller’s mark came out fifty years before Sendivoge’s Novum Lumen. It depicts a man (‘Know thyself’) with one winged foot, while the other leg is crippled. A spiritual elevation vs. physical limitation opposition (like the king sceptre/fool’s cap).

Note the crutch and walking stick, along with the “Saturnine” features. As for the inscription in the ouroboros ... it’s all Greek to me, sorry.

[You need to copy and paste the complete, two lines, web link.]

Berteau (Thomas). – Bookseller at Lyon. 1554.

http://books.google.ca/books?id=8TMGAAAAQAAJ&dq=Louis-catherine silvestre&lr=&pg=PA459&ci=276,128,540,774&source=bookclip"><img# 




The other images (No. 850 & 851), are from the same source. They show a man using a watering can pretty much identical to the one of Saturn later. An heirloom, I guess. Silvestre only mentions Courteau, but it was also the one of his associate, Nicolas Barbier  (“A Genève, il utilise aussi la marque aux deux hommes plantant et arrosant surmonté du tétragramme divin. A partir de 1557, il l'emploie avec Courteau, qui la conserve après la mort de son associé. » [Heitz, Genfer, Nos 9-11].)


COURTEAU (Thomas). - Printer in Geneva. 1557 - 1567.

 http://books.google.ca/books?id=8TMGAAAAQAAJ&dq=Louis-catherine silvestre&lr=&pg=PA487&ci=12,131,826,1307&source=bookclip"><img#v=onepage&q=&f=false



I am not saying, here, that these very plates must have been the direct inspiration for the engraver of the ‘Saturn watering a tree’ in Sendivogius and Maier treatises; only that there were, available in the small world of printers and booksellers, some pictorial precedents to which the artist could be indebted.

.


Last edited on Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 03:11 am by Carl Lavoie

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 10:32 am
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Carl Lavoie wrote:
.

As for the inscription in the ouroboros ... it’s all Greek to me, sorry.





Gnothi seauton (Know thyself)

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 12:56 pm
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Paul Ferguson wrote:
There is some discussion of this (and, I think, an illustration) in Jan Reed's Burlington Magazine article 'Some Alchemical Engravings'

Thanks for this reference. There is, however, just a mention and an illustration from Stolcius. No discussion in the sense of the meaning or origin of the image/idea.

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 01:10 pm
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Hello Carl,

Thank you for both examples of similar imagery. The second one is especially interesting.

Carl Lavoie wrote: Berteau (Thomas). – Bookseller at Lyon. 1554.
COURTEAU (Thomas). - Printer in Geneva. 1557 - 1567.

I am not saying, here, that these very plates must have been the direct inspiration for the engraver of the ‘Saturn watering a tree’ in Sendivogius and Maier treatises; only that there were, available in the small world of printers and booksellers, some pictorial precedents to which the artist could be indebted.

Certainly. And I guess they actually used that type of watering cans at the time so the mataphor may have been taken from "reality" as well. Tracing the deveelopment of this particular image may perhaps be a useful example of how such metaphors developed and how alchemical ideas were attached to them. I am saying "useful" because it is relatively rare, with just three instances, and is not overloaded with non/pre-alchemical symbolic legacy (as are lions, eagles, salamanders, kings, queens, etc.).

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 01:16 pm
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Looking at both the "Caveman" image and the Sendivogius/Maier/Stolcius image (as in my avatar on the left), I have only now realized that while the latter displays a can like that in the 16th printer devices posted by Carl, the "Caveman" one looks pretty much like those we are using today. So probably that image is later? Is there a history of watering cans around? :D

Last edited on Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 01:17 pm by Rafal T. Prinke

Rafal T. Prinke
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 Posted: Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 01:56 pm
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I did find some interesting examples of early watering cans and watering pots. The latter is what the engraving from Maier shows but, curiously, the depiction is incorrect as the gardener had to stop the top opening with his/her thumb (or a mechanical device), to prevent the water from leaking out while carrying the pot. It cannot be seen how this could be done on this particular shape. Some examples are here:

http://www.oldandinteresting.com/

(move down a bit to "watering floors and gardens").

The watering can similar to those we use today are known from late 15th c. so the shape in the "Caveman" illustration does not necessarily make the image "post-Maier". See examples here:

http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/pages/page_id18815_u1l2.htm

and here

http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/ceramics/pages/largerimage.asp?obj_id=116437%20&img_id=51447


Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Sun Aug 23rd, 2009 03:35 pm
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I wonder if it's one of the illustrations in:

"The Bettmann Archive picture history of the world: the story of Western civilization retold in 4460 pictures"

Authors: Manley Stolzman, Otto Bettmann
ISBN-10: 039441201X
ISBN-13: 9780394412016
Publication Year: 1978

Can someone look at page 48 of this book, where there seems to be something about alchemical imagery?

Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Mon Aug 24th, 2009 05:00 am
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Hi Rafal,


This device is also shown here, No. 1303 (Claude Marchant, bookseller at Lyon, 1550 - 1556.)

http://books.google.ca/books?id=8TMGAAAAQAAJ&dq=Louis-catherine%20silvestre&lr=&pg=PA743#v=onepage&q=&f=false

 

But they had it re-engraved, as the previous artist, a city slicker, had left the thumb on the top opening (No. 414: François et Claude Marchant, booksellers at Lyon, 1548)...

http://books.google.ca/books?id=5TMGAAAAQAAJ&dq=Louis-catherine%20silvestre&lr=&pg=PA223#v=onepage&q=&f=false

 

... which didn’t deter Bayley (1912) from choosing it.


http://books.google.ca/books?id=pTeuIvN1ZogC&lpg=PA66&ots=hQKpO-1mds&dq=donec%20optata%20veniant&pg=PA66#v=onepage&q=&f=false

 
Anyway, it’s description of this mark that is puzzling me. It goes:

 “A hand is holding an upside-down cup from which flows a golden rain falling on a flower vase. Donec optata veniant.”

(«Une main soutient une coupe renversée de laquelle s’échappe une pluie d’or qui tombe sur un vase de fleurs. »  J.-B. Monfalcon, Manuel du bibliophile et de l’archéologue lyonnais, Paris, 1857, p.xxviii.)



- Why is it stated that it is ‘a golden rain’? I’m wondering, is it just a writer’s fancy, or is there a reference I’m missing? For me, the golden rain evokes the Danaë myth (that has been used in the late alchemical literature), but that’s it. I’m not implying that this printer’s device has any hermetic symbolism, just wondering what could be the possible reference.

 



Last edited on Mon Aug 24th, 2009 08:14 pm by Carl Lavoie


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