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Femininity and Masculinity in the Rosary of Philosophers
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Alexandra Dumitrescu
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 Posted: Thu May 7th, 2009 05:03 am
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Hi!

Has anyone written/ read about 'Femininity and Masculinity' in the Rosary of Philosophers or about associating femininity and masculinity with specific colours?

Thank you.

Alexandra

adammclean
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 Posted: Thu May 7th, 2009 09:43 am
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The art historian M.E. Warlick has looked at this theme from an original perspective.
She examines the different manuscript images to note the differences and the ways in which the mindset of the painter/alchemist influenced his depictions.

There is, of course, much modern material on this theme. One really has to discount the Jungians and the new age theorists. Their views merely reflect the modern mind, and have little contact with the context and the ideas out of which these images were originally shaped and formed.


Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Thu May 7th, 2009 11:03 am
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Hi Alexandra and welcome to the forum :D

The following books by 'colo(u)r historian' John Gage may be some help. I assume they contain extensive bibliographies.


Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism

http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/8766.php



Color and Culture: Practice and Meaning from Antiquity to Abstraction

http://www.amazon.com/Color-Culture-Practice-Antiquity-Abstraction/dp/0821220438

Last edited on Thu May 7th, 2009 11:04 am by Paul Ferguson

Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Thu May 7th, 2009 07:48 pm
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About the colour/alchemy, with a possible connexion to the Rosaire des Philosophes, Chevreul, who it is alluded to in one of the links of Paul, states that his work on colours and his studies on alchemy merged in the writing of his book on (visual ?) ‘Abstraction’ :

"[...] mon ouvrage sur le Contraste simultané des couleurs, et mes Considérations sur l’histoire de la chimie et de l’alchimie; enfin, c’est en coordonnant toutes les généralités de ces recherches que j’ai rédigé un ouvrage inédit sur l’ Abstraction considérée comme élément des connaissances humaines dans la recherche de la vérité absolue."

http://books.google.ca/books?id=-2feqLte8dcC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=chevreul+contraste+alchimie&source=bl&ots=HJi_eHQFs8&sig=9z5W2Be55wyr1xUnApG1KeIJTmY&hl=fr&ei=iTADSo7WOuPemQflk5XUBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2

Although this pompous title sounds more like the work of a Martinist, the work may refer to the ‘Rosaire ...’, as there is a copy of it in the library of the Museum d’histoire naturelle in Paris, which holds his bequested collection :

http://www.calames.abes.fr/pub/#details?id=PA2011023



They don’t specify whether it came from the alchemical collection Chevreul donated, though.

It is a tenuous link, I agree.

Last edited on Fri May 8th, 2009 01:05 am by Carl Lavoie

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Thu May 7th, 2009 08:51 pm
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Carl Lavoie wrote:
About the colour/alchemy, with a possible connexion to the Rosaire des Philosophes, Chevreul, who it is alluded to in one of the links of Paul, states that his work on colours and his studies on alchemy merged in the writing of his book on (visual ?) ‘Abstraction’ :

"[...] mon ouvrage sur le Contraste simultané des couleurs, et mes Considérations sur l’histoire de la chimie et de l’alchimie; enfin, c’est en coordonnant toutes les généralités de ces recherches que j’ai rédigé un ouvrage inédit sur l’ Abstraction considérée comme élément des connaissances humaines dans la recherche de la vérité absolue."

http://books.google.ca/books?id=-2feqLte8dcC&pg=PA19&lpg=PA19&dq=chevreul+contraste+alchimie&source=bl&ots=HJi_eHQFs8&sig=9z5W2Be55wyr1xUnApG1KeIJTmY&hl=fr&ei=iTADSo7WOuPemQflk5XUBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2

Although this pompous title sounds more like the work of a Martinist, the work may refer to the ‘Rosaire ...’, as there is a copy of it in the library of the Museum d’histoire naturelle in Paris :

http://www.calames.abes.fr/pub/#details?id=PA2011023



They don’t specify whether it came fron the collection Chevreul donated, though.

It is a tenuous link, I agree.


I haven't looked too closely at this website:

http://www.colorsystem.com/

but at first glance it does seem to contain a wealth of fascinating material, including a section on Chevreul.

Probably best read in French!
http://www.colorsystem.com/grundlagen/aaf.htm

Last edited on Thu May 7th, 2009 09:01 pm by Paul Ferguson

adammclean
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 Posted: Thu May 7th, 2009 09:32 pm
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In the Rosarium series the male and female aspects seem to be linked to the king and queen, and thus to the red and white tincture. Some images used in the Rosarium Philosophorum are taken from the much earlier Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit which was in the form of manuscripts with coloured figures.

It seems that the many coloured manuscripts of the Rosarium postdate the printed version. In some of the manuscripts the male and female figures are flesh coloured, as in  one of the St Galen manuscript versions.

 

Attached Image (viewed 1887 times):

St Gallen 03.jpg

Alexandra Dumitrescu
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 Posted: Fri May 8th, 2009 12:30 am
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Thank you so much for answering my query! I'll be following the cues and see where they lead. I somehow inferred from The Rosary and elsewhere (Indian alchemy - can one draw a line between spiritual alchemy texts and mystic ones?!)- that  masculinity tends to associate with red (and yellow? as Solar energy?) and femininity with darker shades (Moon, but also moon light, which, perhaps in its more positive acceptance, evokes white rather than dark blue or black).

Thanks again.

Best,

 Alexandra

Some other questions: Is there an oldest version of the Rosary? Frankfurt 1550? How entitled are we to attribute the text (to Arnold  de Villanova)? Has anyone seen the manuscript?

adammclean
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 Posted: Fri May 8th, 2009 09:20 am
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Alexandra Dumitrescu wrote:  I somehow inferred from The Rosary and elsewhere (Indian alchemy - can one draw a line between spiritual alchemy texts and mystic ones?!)-



 

Forget about Indian alchemy. This had no connection with or influence on European alchemy in the 16th century. One must study alchemical works in their proper context. The modern mind wants to link everything together into a melange (as with the Jungians), but this approach is deeply flawed. To understand the Rosarium one must look at the works on which it was based. Any other approach is just fantasy.

 Some other questions: Is there an oldest version of the Rosary? Frankfurt 1550? How entitled are we to attribute the text (to Arnold  de Villanova)? Has anyone seen the manuscript?

The printed book is 1550. No earlier manuscript has been indentified. It cannot realistically be attributed to Arnold of Villanova. The text is a "rosary" or gathering of sayings from alchemical authorities. The work is written in Latin, though the images are associated with some German verses. The images also draw on a manuscript from a year earlier by Caspar Hartung vom Hoff, now in Kassel.

You can see a list of manuscripts on

http://www.Alchemywebsite.com/Virtual_museum/rosarium_philosophorum_room.html

and the possible sources for the imagery on

http://www.alchemywebsite.com/Virtual_museum/rosarium_side_gallery_sources.html

 

Last edited on Fri May 8th, 2009 09:22 am by adammclean

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Fri May 8th, 2009 09:27 am
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Alexandra Dumitrescu wrote:
Thank you so much for answering my query! I'll be following the cues and see where they lead. I somehow inferred from The Rosary and elsewhere (Indian alchemy - can one draw a line between spiritual alchemy texts and mystic ones?!)- that  masculinity tends to associate with red (and yellow? as Solar energy?) and femininity with darker shades (Moon, but also moon light, which, perhaps in its more positive acceptance, evokes white rather than dark blue or black).

Thanks again.

Best,

 Alexandra

Some other questions: Is there an oldest version of the Rosary? Frankfurt 1550? How entitled are we to attribute the text (to Arnold  de Villanova)? Has anyone seen the manuscript?


This is one for Adam, but I believe the 1550 Frankfurt version is the oldest. The attribution to Arnold is presumably based on the large number of quotations from his works to be found in the text, but I have also seen an attribution to Peter of Toledo, who is believed to have been Arnold's brother. I do not know of a manuscript version, but no doubt Adam will confirm this.

See also the Griemiller version in Czech of 1578:

"The illustrations in Griemiller’s Rosarium differ from those in the 1550 Frankfurt edition: he omitted some designs containing overtly Christian symbolism, and added a few more pictures of his own, some of which appear to have been of his own devising, while others were inspired by the arrestingly strange imagery in another alchemical opus, the Aurora Consurgens (‘Rising Dawn), most notably the pair of promiscuously symbolic images at the end of the manuscript."

http://www.spamula.net/blog/2006/10/

Paul Ferguson
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 Posted: Wed Sep 12th, 2012 03:03 pm
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Carl Lavoie wrote:
About the colour/alchemy, with a possible connexion to the Rosaire des Philosophes, Chevreul, who is alluded to in one of the links of Paul, states that his work on colours and his studies on alchemy merged in the writing of his book on (visual ?) ‘Abstraction’ :

"[...] mes Considérations sur l’histoire de la chimie et de l’alchimie;


Did this book "Considérations sur l’histoire de la chimie et de l’alchimie" ever get written? The reason I ask is that I'm interested in translating the four articles in the 'Journal des Savants' where Chevreul has a go at Cambriel's 'Cours de philosophie hermétique'. In the last of the four articles is a gigantic chart, which you can see here at the page immediately following page 768:

http://visualiseur.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb343488023/date1851

which he says is just an 'extract' of the one in his "Considérations sur l’histoire de la chimie et de l’alchimie". I can find no trace of this work anywhere. Incidentally, Chevreul lived to the age of 102, and this photo, presumably by Nadar, was taken when he was about 97.

Attached Image (viewed 765 times):

chevreul_10.jpg

Last edited on Wed Sep 12th, 2012 04:21 pm by Paul Ferguson

adammclean
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 Posted: Wed Sep 12th, 2012 03:40 pm
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In the last of the four articles is a gigantic chart, which you can see here at page 769:

It is very reminiscent of the sort of analytic tables favoured by Fludd in his tomes.

Carl Lavoie
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 Posted: Wed Sep 12th, 2012 08:23 pm
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.

La Chimie Nouvelle (Paris, 1854) by Louis Lucas, the author who will write Le Roman Alchimique three years later*, has this very interesting chart on page 525, harmonizing metals, colours and acoustics :

 

http://books.google.ca/books?id=vCMuAAAAYAAJ&hl=fr&pg=PA525#v=onepage&q&f=false

 
 A couple of red flags for a scientific work though, and right from the start : the title-page has the mentions «Histoire dogmatique des sciences physiques», and «Éditée par l'auteur»…



 

«La couleur des corps, en physique comme en chimie, dérive nécessairement des mêmes causes. Il n'en est pas moins vrai qu'en physique on s'est beaucoup occupé des couleurs en général, tandis qu'en chimie le sujet est resté complètement neuf, de la manière dont nous entendons l'envisager».



________________________________________

 

* : Although he claim, in the dédicace, that he wrote it in 1850.
.


 


Last edited on Wed Sep 12th, 2012 09:54 pm by Carl Lavoie


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