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Alchemical Images

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Alchemy; Chemistry; Chrysopoeia; Chymia; Chymiatria; Emblems; Glyphs; Gold-making; Iatrochemistry; Images; Notae; Spagyria


The focus of this entry is on the visual imagery found first in Western alchemical manuscripts and later in print publications from the introduction of alchemy into Europe in the twelfth century until the heyday of emblematic alchemy in the seventeenth century.

Types of Alchemical Imagery

Alchemical imagery can be divided into various categories, the most prominent being (1) illustrations of laboratory apparatus (furnaces, vessels); (2) bestiary (dragons, lions, toads, birds); (3) religious analogies (Passion and Resurrection of Christ; Crowning of the Virgin Mary; Adam and Eve); (4) mythological analogies (e.g., Apollo and Diana; Venus and Mars; Vulcan); (5) geometric diagrams; and (6) glyphs or notae representing cosmic principles (e.g., four elements), alchemical substances, and processes. A great part of this imagery is concerned with Chrysopoeia...


  • Natural philosophy
  • Astrology
  • Religion
  • Natural magic
  • Emblematics

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Correspondence to Peter J. Forshaw .

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Forshaw, P.J. (2020). Alchemical Images. In: Jalobeanu, D., Wolfe, C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences. Springer, Cham.

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