Paris Splendor Solis

Paris Splendor Solis – Patrimonio Ediciones – Ms. All. 113 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)

Probably Nuremberg (Germany) — Around 1572

On the Philosopher's Stone and the refinement of the soul: the mysterious and ancient teachings of alchemy in the play of colors of 22 elaborate full-page miniatures by a talented Nuremberg Renaissance artist

  1. A masterpiece of the alchemical tradition concerning the refinement of substances and the soul

  2. The 22 miniatures, whose color play reflects the rules of alchemy, show a skillful interplay of ornamental frames, architectures, and perspective

  3. This specimen speaks to the resurgence of interest in alchemy during the Renaissance

Paris Splendor Solis

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€
(3,000€ - 7,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Paris Splendor Solis

The so-called Splendor Solis from the 16th century counts as one of the masterpieces of the alchemical tradition. Throughout the 100 pages, the manuscript contains 22 full-page miniatures and its entire appearance is modeled on a medieval illuminated manuscript. The impressive paintings derive from an outstanding Nuremberg artist of the 16th century in the style of Dürer. It shows its mysterious scenes of planets and various elements, but also figural scenes, like animals and floral ornamentation in wonderful compositions. The enthusiasm for the pseudo-science of alchemy, whose ultimate goal was the Philosopher’s Stone, is found within this valuably illustrated manuscript in impressive form.

Paris Splendor Solis

The so-called Splendor Solis from the 16th century counts as one of the masterpieces of the alchemical tradition. Throughout the 100 pages, the manuscript contains 22 full-page miniatures and its entire appearance is modeled on a medieval illuminated manuscript. The impressive paintings derive from an outstanding Nuremberg artist of the 16th century in the style of Dürer. It shows its mysterious scenes of planets and various elements, but also figural scenes, like animals and floral ornamentation in wonderful compositions. The enthusiasm for the pseudo-science of alchemy, whose ultimate goal was the Philosopher’s Stone, is found within this valuably illustrated manuscript in impressive form.

Alchemical Mysteries in Bright Colors

The miniature pages of the Splendor Solis – “Gleaming of the Sun” – are paired with a mysterious text. Rendered in the style of a medieval manuscript, the text is adorned with golden initials and is preciously illustrated. Broad frames wrap around the actual miniatures in the middle of every page. In doing so, there are many different types of pictorial composition: some a great and rectangular, other like an arched window formed around a miniature field, all surrounded by splendid golden frames with floral and faunal depictions in the brightest of colors. Then there are lavishly ornamental frames from architectural forms, like an altar room prospectively depicted through an archway or circular form. Lastly, the miniature fields are worthy of mention, in which an alchemical process is shown in the middle of an architectural framework and the frame contains a figural representation all around. These are unbelievable in their composition, as they contain figurative scenes in the foreground in the limited space of the frame, which mix in the middle ground with grandiose landscapes and architectures and are topped with a representation of the sky. Ultimately the totality of the creative ideas are difficult to put into words. Every single page offers the eye a multitude of new discoveries. Next to explicitly recognizable motifs, there are enigmatic and wonderful motifs underneath the miniatures, with which research today is concerned. As for the artist of the miniatures, research points to Jörg Breu the Elder, as well as the famous manuscript painter Albrecht Glockendon. Both count among the most outstanding artists of Nuremburg in the time after Albrecht Dürer.

The Most Famous Alchemic Script of the 16th Century

The Splendor Solis concerns itself with alchemical scenes, mainly with the Philosopher’s Stone, and its fabrication and methodology. Alchemy as a science, which already was known to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, survived to see a new heyday in the 15th and 16th centuries. The main intent of alchemy was the metamorphosis of non-precious metals into precious ones, whereby gold was the most prized goal of all. The text of Splendor Solis was originally attributed to the legendary Salomon Trismosin, and is likely a translation of the mysterious Aurora consurgens, an alchemical text from the 15th century. Trismosin counts as one of the most famous German Alchemists of the 15th and 16th centuries, who even was alleged to have discovered the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone, and had published numerous texts himself. The Splendor Solis survives today in 20 specimens, many of which can be found in the collections of the Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin or the British Library inter alia. The specimen in the Bibliothèque Nationale of France is outstanding in its artistic form. A miniature of the manuscript is dated to the year 1577, which is the generally accepted placement of the manuscript’s origin.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Splendor Solis. Tratado de Alquimia
Splendor Solis. Das Traktat der Alchemie
Splendor Solis. Traité d’Alchimie
Lo Splendor Solis. Trattato di Alchimia
Splendor Solis. Tratado de Alquimia
Pariser Splendor Solis
Size / Format
100 pages / 30.0 × 21.0 cm
Origin
Germany
Date
Around 1572
Language
Illustrations
22 beautiful full-page miniatures, with ornamental borders depicting vegetation and architecture
Content
The Splendor Solis, an important treatise on alchemy written at the dawn of modern science, consists of text accompanied by a series of elaborate images set in ornamental borders and niches similar in style to the decorative borders used in book of hours

Available facsimile editions:
Paris Splendor Solis – Patrimonio Ediciones – Ms. All. 113 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2009
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Detail Picture

Paris Splendor Solis

Hunting and Fishing Marginalia

Figures pursue their everyday activities in an idyllic landscape in this frame. A fishing boat with a crew of two crosses the river while pulling a net behind it. It is loaded with wooden barrels in which the catch is to be transported alive. The water reveals the bright reflections of some geese, which are targeted by a hunter on the bank with his arquebus while his dog is just waiting to take the prey out of the water. Two splendidly dressed noble falconers stand on the bank behind them.

Paris Splendor Solis – Patrimonio Ediciones – Ms. All. 113 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Single Page

Paris Splendor Solis

Mars – The Three-Headed Bird

The Seven Flasks were one of the numerous themes of alchemy, the symbolic process showing the classical alchemical death and rebirth of the king with each flask associated with a planet. This miniature is associated with Mars and the deity is depicted riding a wheeled throne drawn by two horses through the sky armed with sword and shield.

Each of the birds is crowned, as is the flask itself, which is presented within a niche that is elaborately decorated with floral motifs. Scenes of war unfold in the surrounding miniature, including a burning city in the distance. A combat scene between armored knights and heavy infantry unfolds in the lower margin as more soldiers drive a herd of animals to supply the army.

Paris Splendor Solis – Patrimonio Ediciones – Ms. All. 113 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Splendor Solis. Tratado de Alquimia

Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2009

Publisher: Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2009
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Commentary: 1 volume (114 pages) by Alejandro García Avilés and Carlos Espí Forcén
Languages: Spanish, Italian, English, German
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€
(3,000€ - 7,000€)
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