- Introductory remarks by David Brafman.
- Macrocosm in Miniatures: The Fabulous Imagery of Alchemy by Jörg Völlnagel.
Alchemists were notorious for attempting to make synthetic gold, but their goals were far more ambitious: to transform and bend nature to the will of an industrious human imagination. For scientists, philosophers, and artists alike, alchemy seemed to hold the key to unlocking the secrets of creation. Alchemists’ efforts to discover the way the world is made have had an enduring impact on artistic practice and expression around the globe. This colloquium will explore how the mysterious art of alchemy transformed visual culture from antiquity to the industrial age and the ways in which its legacy still permeates the world we make today.
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Lecture by Meredith K. Ray. Given at New York University’s Florence campus on February 3, 2015.
Caterina Sforza (1463-1509), regent of Imola and Forlì and progenitrix of the Medici Grand Ducal dynasty, had a keen interest in scientific experiment. She collected over four hundred alchemical, medicinal, and cosmetic recipes, and corresponded with other alchemical adepts about materials and laboratory techniques. Her example reflects a more general fascination with secrets that enthralled courts throughout early modern Europe, giving rise to a lively market for such information. It also offers an opportunity to explore some of the ways in which women—and men—engaged with scientific culture on the cusp of the Scientific Revolution in pursuit of health, beauty, wealth, and power. Not only is Caterina Sforza’s experimental activity emblematic of the wider panorama of women’s involvement in early modern scientific culture, but it also situates her at the origins of a Medici interest in alchemy and experiment that stretched well into the seventeenth century.
Meredith K. Ray is associate professor of Italian at the University of Delaware and the author of Daughters of Alchemy: Women and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy, forthcoming from Harvard University Press. Her first book, Writing Gender in Women’s Letter Collections of the Italian Renaissance (Toronto, 2009), was awarded an American Association of Italian Studies (AAIS) book prize. She has received grants and fellowships from organizations including the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Renaissance Society of America, and the American Association of University Women.
Free lecture featuring Lawrence M. Principe, Drew Professor of the Humanities, Department of the History of Science and Technology, John Hopkins University.
It is widely believed that chemistry and alchemy parted company around the end of the 17th century. Chemistry became a modern science, alchemy withered away as a false pursuit. The historical reality is, however, very different. The separation of transmutational pursuits from “acceptable” chemistry was complex, having little to do with scientific developments. Recent archival discoveries show that prominent chemists continued to pursue transmutation until at least the 1760s. Even in the 19th century, new chemical ideas sparked more than one reconciliation between alchemy and chemistry. This lecture explores the resilience of transmutational aspirations and their adaptability to new chemical theories.
El Centro de Historia de la Filosofía Hermética y Corrientes Afines es un departamento dentro de la Facultad de Humanidades de la Universidad de Amsterdam. Los autores proponen un curso completo de estudios consagrados a la historia y al análisis del esoterismo occidental, que consta de tres etapas de la especialidad. La primera está integrada en el programa de enseñanza de la Diplomatura (B. A.) en Ciencias Religiosas. La segunda es una Licenciatura (M. A.) en humanidades, que ofrece la posibilidad de dedicación única al tema del “Misticismo y Esoterismo Occidental”. Los estudiantes pueden encontrar aquí todas las informaciones prácticas concernientes al curso académico y sus recursos disponibles. También informa de las actividades de investigación abiertas por el Departamento, revela datos de cada uno de sus miembros y de la estructura administrativa del centro. Incluye una lista regular de “Novedades y Eventos”, como conferencias públicas, coloquios y libros de reciente aparición. Además, se encuentran todas las informaciones relativas a la serie Gnostica (publicada por la casa editora “Peeters”, en Lovaina), así como la revista académica Aries (editada por E. J. Brill, en Leiden), con el índice de contenidos y el resumen de sus artículos.
Un roman alchimique à Strasbourg. Les Noces Chymiques de Christian Rose-Croix 1616-2016. Ein alchimistischer Roman in Straßburg. Die Chymische Hochzeit des Christian Rosencreutz 1616-2016.
Recherches germaniques. hors-série n° 13 / 2018.
Sous la direction de Jean-Pierre Brach et Aurélie Choné.
The application of analytical chemistry to the exploration of the World Cultural Heritage represents a major challenge in that most protocols and strategies are invasive and require micro-sampling. The technology here described relates to the capture of metals on these specimens. It is based on the use of plastic films (ethylene vinyl acetate, EVA) impregnated with different metal chelators (sodium 2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonate, DMPS, meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid, DMSA and ethylene diamino tetra acetic acid, EDTA, as calcium salt), for harvesting from surfaces of different supports potential traces of metals therein deposited. The EVA film technology has been used to explore the pages of a manuscript written by Kepler concerning the movements of the moon and catalogued under the title “Hipparchus”, a manuscript he was working on for 15 years, today at the Archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences (St. Petersburg branch). The EVA-based chelating diskettes were able to capture very significant amounts of different metals, namely: Au, Ag, Hg, As, Pb, suggesting that Kepler might have started practicing alchemy, a science he had learned from his colleague Tycho Brahe.