Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Biography of Albrecht Dürer

"DÜRER, ALBRECHT (1471–1528), German painter, draughtsman and engraver, was born at Nuremberg on the 21st of May 1471. His family was not of Nuremberg descent, but came from the village of Eytas in Hungary. The name, however, is German, and the family device—an open door—points to an original form Thürer, meaning a maker of doors or carpenter. Albrecht Dürer the elder was a goldsmith by trade, and settled soon after the middle of the 15th century in Nuremberg. He served as assistant under a master-goldsmith of the city, Hieronymus Holper, and in 1468 married his master's daughter Barbara, the bridegroom being forty and the bride fifteen years of age. They had eighteen children, of whom Albrecht was the second. The elder Dürer was an esteemed craftsman and pious citizen, sometimes, as was natural, straitened in means by the pressure of his numerous progeny. His famous son writes with reverence and affection of both parents, and has left a touching narrative of their death-bed hours. He painted the portrait of his father twice, first in 1490, next in 1497. The former of these is in the Uffizi at Florence; of the latter, four versions exist, that in the National Gallery (formerly in the Ashburton-Northampton collections) having the best claim to originality.

The young Albrecht was his father's favourite son. “My father,” he writes, “took special delight in me. Seeing that I was industrious in working and learning, he put me to school; and when I had learned to read and write, he took me home from school and taught me the goldsmith's trade.” By and by the boy found himself drawn by preference from goldsmith's work to painting; his father, after some hesitation on the score of the time already spent in learning the former trade, gave way and apprenticed him for three years, at the age of fifteen and a half, to the principal painter of the town, Michael Wolgemut. Wolgernut furnishes a complete type of the German painter of that age. At the head of a large shop with many assistants, his business was to turn out, generally for a small price, devotional pieces commissioned by mercantile corporations or private persons to decorate their Chapels in the churches—the preference being usually for scenes of the Passion, or for tortures and martyrdoms of the saints. In such work the painters of Upper Germany at this time, working in the spirit of the late Gothic style just before the dawn of the Renaissance, show considerable technical attainments, with a love of quaint costumes and rich draperies crumpled in complicated angular folds, some feeling for romance in landscape backgrounds, none at all for clearness or balance in composition, and in the attitudes and expressions of their overcrowded figures a degree of grotesqueness and exaggeration amounting often to undesigned caricature. There were also produced in the workshop of Wolgemut, as in that of other artist-craftsmen of his town, a great number of woodcuts for book illustration. We cannot with certainty identify any of these as being by the 'prentice hand of the young Dürer. Authentic drawings done by him in boyhood, however, exist, including one in silver-point of his own likeness at the age of thirteen in the Albertina at Vienna, and others of two or three years later in the print room at Berlin, at the British Museum and at Bremen.

In the school of Wolgemut Dürer learned much, by his own account, but suffered not a little from the roughness of his companions. At the end of his apprenticeship in 1490 he entered upon the usual course of travels—the Wanderjahre—of a German youth. Their direction we cannot retrace with certainty. There had been no one at Nuremberg skilled enough in the art of metal-engraving to teach it him to much purpose, and it had at one time been his father's intention to apprentice him to Martin Schongauer of Colmar, the most refined and accomplished German painter-engraver of his time. But after travelling two years in various parts of Germany, where we are unable to follow him, the young Dürer arrived at Colmar in 1492, only to find that Schongauer had died the previous year. He was received kindly by three brothers of the deceased master established there, and afterwards, still in 1492, by a fourth brother at Basel. Under them he evidently had some practice both in metal engraving and in furnishing designs for the woodcutter. There is in the museum at Basel a wood-block of St Jerome executed by him and elaborately signed on the back with his name. This was used in an edition of Jerome's letters printed in the same city in the same year, 1492. Some critics also maintain that his hand is to be recognized in several series of small blocks done about the same date or somewhat later for Bergmann and other printers of Basel, some of them being illustrations to Terence (which were never printed), some to the romance of the Ritter vom Turm, and some to the Narrenschiff of Sebastian Brandt. But the prevailing opinion is against this conjecture, and sees in these designs the work not of a strenuous student and searcher such as Dürer was, but of a riper and more facile hand working in a spirit of settled routine. Whether the young Dürer's stay at Basel was long or short, or whether, as has been supposed, he travelled from there into the Low Countries, it is certain that in the early part of 1494 he was working at Strassburg, and returned to his home at Nuremberg immediately after Whitsuntide in that year. Of works certainly executed by him during his years of travel there are extant, besides the Basel wood-block, only a much-injured portrait of himself, very finely dressed and in the first bloom of his admirable manly beauty, dated 1493 and originally painted on vellum but since transferred to canvas (this is the portrait of the Felix Goldschmid collection); a miniature painting on vellum at Vienna (a small figure of the Child-Christ); and some half a dozen drawings, of which the most important are the characteristic pen portrait of himself at Erlangen, with a Holy Family on the reverse much in the manner of Schongauer; another Holy Family in nearly the same style at Berlin; a study from the female nude in the Bonnat collection; a man and woman on horseback in Berlin; a man on horseback, and an executioner about to behead a young man, at the British Museum, &c. These drawings all show Dürer intent above all things on the sternly accurate delineation of ungeneralized individual forms by means of strongly accented outline and shadings curved, somewhat like the shadings of Martin Schongauer’s engravings, so as to follow their modellings and roundness.

Within a few weeks of his return (July 7th, 1494) Dürer was married, according to an arrangement apparently made between the parents during his absence, to Agnes Frey, the daughter of a well-to-do merchant of the city. By the autumn of the same year, probably feeling the incompleteness of the artistic training that could be obtained north of the Alps, he must have taken advantage of some opportunity, we know not what, to make an excursion of some months to Italy, leaving his lately married wife at Nuremberg. The evidences of this travel (which are really incontestable, though a small minority of critics still decline to admit them) consist of (1) some fine drawings, three of them dated 1494 and others undated, but plainly of the same time, in which Dürer has copied, or rather boldly translated into his own Gothic and German style, two famous engravings by Mantegna, a number of the “Tarocchi” prints of single figures which pass erroneously under that master’s name, and one by yet another minor master of the North-Italian school; with another drawing dated 1495 and plainly copied from a lost original by Antonio Pollaiuolo, and yet another of an infant Christ copied in 1495 from Lorenzo di Credi, from whom also Dürer took a motive for the composition of one of his earliest Madonnas; (2) several landscape drawings done in the passes of Tirol and the Trentino, which technically will not fit in with any other period of his work, and furnish a clear record of his having crossed the Alps about this date; (3) two or three drawings of the costumes of Venetian courtesans, which he could not have made anywhere but in Venice itself, and one of which is used in his great woodcut Apocalypse series of 1498; (4) a general preoccupation which he shows for some years from this date with the problems of the female nude, treated in a manner for which Italy only could have set him the example; and (5) the clear implication contained in a letter written from Venice in 1506 that he had been there already eleven years before; when things, he says, pleased him much which at the time of writing please him no more. Some time in 1495 Dürer must have returned from this first Italian journey to his home in Nuremberg, where he seems to have lived, without further change or removal, in the active practice of his art for the next ten years.

The hour when Dürer, the typical artist of the German nation, attained maturity was one of the most pregnant in the history of his race. It was the crisis, in northern Europe, of the transition between the middle ages and our own. The awakening of Germany at the Renaissance was not, like the awakening of Italy a generation or two earlier, a movement almost exclusively intellectual. It was indeed from Italy that the races of the north caught the impulse of intellectual freedom, the spirit of science and curiosity, the eager retrospect towards the classic past; but joined with these in Germany was a moral impulse which was her own, a craving after truth and right, a rebellion against spiritual tyranny and corruption—the Renaissance was big in the north, as it was not in the south, with a Reformation to come. The art of printing had been invented in good time to help and hasten the new movement of men’s minds. Nor was it by the diffusion of written ideas only that the new art supplied the means of popular enlightenment. Along with word-printing, or indeed in advance of it, there had sprung into use another kind of printing, picture-printing, or what is commonly called engraving. Just as books were the means of multiplying, cheapening and disseminating ideas, so engravings on copper or wood were the means of multiplying, cheapening and disseminating images which gave vividness to the ideas, or served, for those ignorant of letters, in their stead. Technically one of these arts, that of line-engraving on copper, sprang from the craft of the goldsmith and metal-chaser; while that of wood-engraving sprang from the craft of the printers of pattern-blocks and playing cards. The engraver on metal habitually cut his own designs, and between the arts of the goldsmith and the painter there had always been a close alliance, both being habitually exercised by persons of the same family and sometimes by one and the same person; so that there was no lack of hands ready-trained for the new craft which required of the man who practised it that he should design like a painter and cut metal like a goldsmith. Designs intended to be cut on wood, on the other hand, were usually drawn by the artist on the block and handed over for cutting to a class of workmen—Formschneider or Briefmaler—especially devoted to that industry. Both kinds of engraving soon came to be in great demand. Independently of the illustration of written or printed books, for which purpose woodcuts were almost exclusively used, separate engravings or sets of engravings in both kinds were produced, the more finely wrought and more expensive, appealing especially to the more educated classes, on copper, the bolder, simpler and cheaper on wood; and both kinds found a ready sale at all the markets, fairs and church festivals of the land. Subjects of popular devotion predominated. Figures of the Virgin and Child, of the apostles and evangelists, the fathers of the Church, the saints and martyrs, with illustrations of sacred history and the Apocalypse, were supplied in endless repetition to satisfy the cravings of a pious and simple-minded people. But to these were quickly added subjects of allegory, of classical learning, of witchcraft and superstition and of daily life; scenes of the parlour and the cloister, of the shop, the field, the market and the camp; and lastly portraits of famous men, with scenes of court life and princely pageant and ceremony. Thus the new art became a mirror of almost all the life and thoughts of the age. The genius of Albrecht Dürer cannot be rightly estimated without taking into account the position which the arts of engraving on metal and on wood thus held in the culture of this time. He was indeed professionally and in the first place a painter; but throughout his career a great, and on the whole the most successful, part of his industry was devoted to drawing on the block for the woodcutter or engraving with his own hand on copper. The town of Nuremberg in Franconia, in the age of Dürer’s early manhood, was a favourable home for the growth and exercise of his powers. Of the free imperial cities of central Germany, none had a greater historic fame or a more settled and patriotic government. None was more the favourite of the emperors, nor the seat of a more active and flourishing commerce. Nuremberg was the chief mart for the merchandise that came to central Europe from the east through Venice and over the passes of Tirol. She held not only a close commercial intercourse, but also a close intellectual intercourse, with Italy. Without being so forward as the rival city of Augsburg to embrace the architectural fashions of the Italian renaissance—continuing, indeed, to be profoundly imbued with the old and homely German burgher spirit, and to wear, in a degree which time has not very much impaired even yet, the quaintness of the old German civic aspect—she had imported before the close of the 15th century a fair share of the new learning of Italy, and numbered among her citizens distinguished humanists like Hartmann Schedel, Sebald Schreier, Willibald Pirkheimer and Conrad Celtes. From associates like these Dürer could imbibe the spirit of Renaissance culture and research; but the external aspects and artistic traditions which surrounded him were purely Gothic, and he had to work out for himself the style and form-language fit to express what was in him. During the first seven or eight years of his settled life in his native city from 1495, he betrays a conflict of artistic tendencies as well as no small sense of spiritual strain and strife. His finest work in this period was that which he provided for the woodcutter. After some half—dozen miscellaneous single prints—“Samson and the Lion,” the “Annunciation,” the “Ten Thousand Martyrs,” the “Knight and Men-at-arms,” the “Men’s Bath,” &c.—he undertook and by 1498 completed his famous series of sixteen great designs for the Apocalypse. The northern mind had long dwelt with eagerness on these phantasmagoric mysteries of things to come, and among the earliest block-books printed in Germany is an edition of the Apocalypse with rude figures. Founding himself to some extent on the traditional motives, Dürer conceived and carried out a set of designs in which the qualities of the German late Gothic style, its rugged strength and restless vehemence, its love of gnarled forms, writhing actions and agitated lines, are fused by the fire of the young master’s spirit into vital combination with something of the majestic power and classic severity which he had seen and admired in the works of Mantegna. Of a little later date, and of almost as fine a quality, are the first seven of a large series of woodcuts known as the Great Passion; and a little later again (probably after 1500), a series of eleven subjects of the Holy Family and of saints singly or in groups: then, towards 1504-1505, come the first seventeen of a set illustrating the life of the Virgin: neither these nor the Great Passion were published till several years later.

In copper-engraving Dürer was at the same time diligently training himself to develop the methods practised by Martin Schongauer and earlier masters into one suitable for his own self-expression. He attempted no subjects at all commensurate with those of his great woodcuts, but contented himself for the most part with Madonnas, single figures of scripture or of the saints, some nude mythologies of a kind wholly new in northern art and founded upon the impressions received in Italy, and groups, sometimes bordering on the satirical, of humble folk and peasants. In the earliest of the Madonnas, the “Virgin with the Dragon-fly” (1495-1496), Dürer has thrown something of his own rugged energy into a design of the traditional Schongauer type. In examples of a few years later, like the “Virgin with the Monkey,” the design of Mother and Child clearly betrays the influence of Italy and specifically of Lorenzo di Credi. The subjects of the “Prodigal Son” and “St Jerome in the Wilderness” he on the other hand treats in an almost purely northern spirit. In the nudes of the next four or five years, which included a “St Sebastian,” the so-called “Four Witches” (1497), the “Dream” or “Temptation,” the “Rape of Amymome,” and the “Jealousy” or “Great Hercules,” Venetian, Paduan and Florentine memories are found, in the treatment of the human form, competing somewhat uncomfortably with his own inherited Gothic and northern instincts. In these early engravings the highly-wrought landscape backgrounds, whenever they occur, are generally the most satisfying feature. This feature reaches a climax of beauty and elaboration in the large print of “St Eustace and the Stag,” while the figures and animals remain still somewhat cramped and immature. In the first three or four years of the 16th century, we find Dürer in his graver-work still contending with the problems of the nude, but now with added power, though by methods which in different subjects contrast curiously with one another. Thus the “Nemesis,” belonging probably to 1503, is a marvellously wrought piece of quite unflinching realism in the rendering of a common type of mature, muscular, unshapely German womanhood. The conception and attributes of the figure are taken, as has lately been recognized, from a description in the “Manto” of Politian: the goddess, to whose shoulders are appended a pair of huge wings, stands like Fortune on a revolving ball, holding the emblems of the cup and bridle, and below her feet is spread a rich landscape of hill and valley. In the “Adam and Eve” of the next year, we find Dürer treating the human form in an entirely opposite manner; constructing it, that is, on principles of abstract geometrical proportion. The Venetian painter-etcher, Jacopo de Barbari, whom Dürer had already, it would seem, met in Venice in 1494-1495, and by the example of whose engravings he had already been much influenced, came to settle for a while in Nuremberg in 1500. He was conversant to some extent with the new sciences of perspective, anatomy and proportion, which had been making their way for years past in Italy, and from him it is likely that Dürer received the impulse to similar studies and speculations. At any rate a whole series of extant drawings enables us to trace the German gradually working out his own ideas of a canon of human proportion in the composition of his famous engraving of “Adam and Eve” (1504); which at first, as a drawing in the British Museum proves, had been intended to be an Apollo and Diana conceived on lines somewhat similar to one of Barbari’s. The drama of the subject has in this instance not interested him at all, but only the forms and designs of the figures, the realization of the quality of flesh surfaces by the subtlest use of the graving-tool known to him, and the rendering, by methods of which he had become the greatest of all masters, of the richness and intricacy of the forest background. Two or three other technical masterpieces of the engraver’s art, the “Coat-of-Arms with the Skull,” the “Nativity,” with its exquisite background of ruined buildings, the “Little Horse” and the “Great Horse,” both of 1505, complete the list of the master’s chief productions in this kind before he started in the last-named year for a second visit to Italy.

The pictures of this earlier Nuremberg period are not many in number and not very admirable. Dürer’s powers of hand and eye are already extraordinary and in their way almost unparalleled, but they are often applied to the too insistent, too glittering, too emphatic rendering of particular details and individual forms, without due regard to subordination or the harmony of the whole. Among the earliest seem to be two examples of a method practised in Italy especially by the school of Mantegna, but almost without precedent in Germany, that of tempera-painting on linen. One of these is the portrait of Frederick the Wise of Saxony, formerly in the Hamilton collection and now at Berlin; the second, much disfigured by restoration, is the Dresden altarpiece with a Madonna and Child in the middle and St Anthony and Sebastian in the wings. A mythology reminiscent of Italy is the “Hercules and the Stymphalian Birds” in the Germanic Museum at Nuremberg, founded directly upon the “Hercules and Centaur Nessus” of Pollaiuolo, now at New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A. Of portraits, besides that of his father already mentioned as done in 1497, there is his own of 1498 at Madrid. Two totally dissimilar portraits of young women, both existing in duplicate examples (one pair at Augsburg and Frankfort, the other pair in the collections of M. Hengel in Paris and Baron Speck von Sternburg at Lützschema, for each of which has been claimed the name Fürlegerin, that is, a member of the Fürleger family at Nuremberg), belong to nearly the same time. Other panel portraits of the period are three small ones of members of the Tucher family at Weimar and Cassel, and the striking, restlessly elaborated half-length of Oswald Krell at Munich. In some devotional pictures of the time Dürer seems to have been much helped by pupils, as in the two different compositions of the Maries weeping over the body of Christ preserved respectively at Munich and Nuremberg. In an altarpiece at Ober St Veit and in the scattered wings of the Jabach altarpiece severally preserved at Munich, Frankfort and Cologne, the workmanship seems to be exclusively that of journeymen working from his drawings. The period is closed, so far as paintings are concerned, by two examples of far higher value than those above named, that is to say the Paumgartner altarpiece at Munich, with its romantically attractive composition of the Nativity with angels and donors in the central panel, and the fine armed figures of St George and St Eustace (lately freed from the over-paintings which disfigured them) on the wings; and the happily conceived and harmoniously finished “Adoration of the Magi” in the Uffizi at Florence.

In the autumn of 1505 Dürer journeyed for a second time to Venice, and stayed there until the spring of 1507. The occasion of this journey has been erroneously stated by Vasari. Dürer’s engravings, both on copper and wood, had by this time attained great popularity both north and south of the Alps, and had begun to be copied by various hands, among others by the celebrated Marcantonio of Bologna, then in his youth. According to Vasari, Marcantonio, in copying Dürer’s series of the Little Passion on wood, had imitated the original monogram, and Dürer, indignant at this fraud, set out for Italy in order to protect his rights, and having lodged a complaint against Marcantonio before the signory of Venice, carried his point so far that Marcantonio was forbidden in future to add the monogram of Dürer to copies taken after his works. This account will not bear examination. Chronological and other proofs show that if such a suit was fought at all, it must have been in connexion with another set of Dürer’s woodcuts, the first seventeen of the Life of the Virgin. Dürer himself, a number of whose familiar letters written from Venice to his friend Pirkheimer at Nuremberg are preserved, makes no mention of anything of the kind. Nevertheless some such grievance may possibly have been among the causes which determined his journey. Other causes, of which we have explicit record, were an outbreak of sickness at Nuremberg; Dürer’s desire, which in fact was realized, of finding a good market for the proceeds of his art; and the prospect, also realized, of a commission for an important picture from the German community settled at Venice, who had lately caused an exchange and warehouse—the Fondaco de’ Tedeschi—to be built on the Grand Canal, and who were now desirous to dedicate a picture in the church of St Bartholomew. The picture painted by Dürer on this commission was the “Adoration of the Virgin,” better known as the “Feast of Rose Garlands”; it was subsequently acquired by the emperor Rudolf II., and carried as a thing beyond price upon men’s shoulders to Vienna; it now exists in a greatly injured state in the monastery of Strahow at Prague. It shows the pope and emperor, with a lute-playing angel between them, kneeling to right and left of the enthroned Virgin and Child, who crown them with rose garlands, with a multitude of other kneeling saints disposed with free symmetry in the background, and farther in the background portraits of the donor and the painter, and a flutter of wreath-carrying cherubs in the air. Of all Dürer’s works, it is the one in which he most deliberately rivalled the combined splendour and playfulness of certain phases of Italian art. The Venetian painters assured him, he says, that they had never seen finer colours. They were doubtless too courteous to add that fine colours do not make fine colouring. Even in its present ruined state, it is apparent that in spite of the masterly treatment of particular passages, such as the robe of the pope, Dürer still lacked a true sense of harmony and tone-relations, and that the effect of his work must have been restless and garish beside that of a master like the aged Bellini. That veteran showed the German visitor the most generous courtesy, and Dürer still speaks of him as the best in painting (“der pest im gemell”) in spite of his advanced years. A similar festal intention in design and colouring, with similar mastery in passages and even less sense of harmonious relations in the whole, is apparent in a second important picture painted by Dürer at Venice, “The Virgin and Child with the Goldfinch,” formerly in the collection of Lord Lothian and now at Berlin. A “Christ disputing with the Doctors” of the same period, in the Barberini Gallery at Rome, is recorded to have cost the painter only five days’ labour, and is an unsatisfying and ill-composed congeries of heads and hands, both of such strenuous character and individuality as here and there to pass into caricature. The most satisfying of Dürer’s paintings done in Venice are the admirable portrait of a young man at Hampton Court (the same sitter reappears in the “Feast of Rose Garlands”), and two small pieces, one the head of a brown Italian girl modelled and painted with real breadth and simplicity, formerly in the collection of Mr Reginald Cholmondeley and now at Berlin, and the small and very striking little “Christ Crucified” with the figure relieved against the night sky, which is preserved in the Dresden Gallery and has served as model and inspiration to numberless later treatments of the theme. An interesting, rather fantastic, portrait of a blonde girl wearing a wide cap, now in the Berlin museum, is dated 1507 and may have been done in the early months of that year at Venice. It is possible, though not certain, that to this date also belongs the famous portrait of himself at Munich bearing a false signature and date, 1500; in this it has been lately shown that the artist modified his own lineaments according to a preconceived scheme of facial proportion, so that it must be taken as an ideal rather than a literal presentment of himself to posterity as he appeared in the flower of his early middle age. From Venice Dürer kept up a continuous correspondence, which has been published, with his bosom friend Pirkheimer at Nuremberg. He tells of the high position he holds among the Venetians; of the jealousy shown him by some of the meaner sort of native artist; of the honour and wealth in which he might live if he would consent to abandon home for Italy; of the northern winter, and how he knows that after his return it will set him shivering for the south. Yet he resisted all seductions and was in Nuremberg again before the summer of 1507. First, it seems, he had made an excursion to Bologna, having intended to take Mantua on the way, in order to do homage to the old age of that Italian master, Andrea Mantegna, from whose work he had himself in youth learned the most. But the death of Mantegna prevented his purpose.

From the spring of 1507 until the summer of 1520, Dürer was again a settled resident in his native town. Except the brilliant existences of Raphael at Rome and of Rubens at Antwerp and Madrid, the annals of art present the spectacle of few more honoured or more fortunate careers. His reputation had spread all over Europe. From Flanders to Rome his distinction was acknowledged, and artists of less invention, among them some of the foremost on both sides of the Alps, were not ashamed to borrow from his work this or that striking combination or expressive type. He was on terms of friendship or friendly communication with all the first masters of the age, and Raphael held himself honoured in exchanging drawings with Dürer. In his own country, all orders of men, from the emperor Maximilian down, delighted to honour him; and he was the familiar companion of chosen spirits among the statesmen, humanists and reformers of the new age. The burgher life of even Nuremberg, the noblest German city, seems narrow, quaint and harsh beside the grace and opulence and poetical surroundings of Italian life in the same and the preceding generation. The great cities of Flanders also, with their world-wide commerce and long-established eminence in the arts, presented aspects of more splendid civic pomp and luxury. But among its native surroundings the career of Dürer stands out with an aspect of ideal elevation and decorum which is its own. His temper and life seem to have been remarkably free from all that was jarring, jealous and fretful; unless, indeed, we are to accept as true the account of his wife’s character which represents her as having been no fit mate for him, but an incorrigible shrew and skinflint. The name of Agnes Dürer was for centuries used to point a moral, and among the unworthy wives of great men the wife of Dürer became almost as notorious as the wife of Socrates. The source of the traditions to her discredit is to be found in a letter written a few years after Dürer’s death by his life-long intimate, Willibald Pirkheimer, who accuses her of having plagued her husband to death by her meanness, made him overwork himself for money’s sake, and given his latter days no peace. No doubt there must have been some kind of foundation for Pirkheimer’s charges; and it is to be noted that neither in Dürer’s early correspondence with this intimate friend, nor anywhere in his journals, does he use any expressions of tenderness or affection for his wife, only speaking of her as his housemate and of her helping in the sale of his prints, &c. That he took her with him on his journey to the Netherlands shows at any rate that there can have been no acute estrangement. And it is fair to remember in her defence that Pirkheimer when he denounced her was old, gouty and peevish, and that the immediate occasion of his outbreak against his friend’s widow was a fit of anger because she had not let him have a pair of antlers—a household ornament much prized in those days—to which he fancied himself entitled out of the property left by Dürer. We have evidence that after her husband’s death Agnes Dürer behaved with generosity to his brothers.

The thirteen or fourteen years of Dürer’s life between his return from Venice and his journey to the Netherlands (spring 1507-midsummer 1520) can best be divided according to the classes of work with which, during successive divisions of the period, he was principally occupied. The first five years, 1507-1511, are pre-eminently the painting years of his life. In them, working with infinite preliminary pains, as a vast number of extant drawings and studies testify, he produced what have been accounted his four capital works in painting, besides several others of minor importance. The first is the “Adam and Eve” dated 1507, in which both attitudes and proportions are as carefully calculated, though on a somewhat different scheme, as in the engraving of 1504. Two versions of the picture exist, one in Florence at the Pitti palace, the other, which is generally allowed to be the original, at Madrid. To 1508 belongs the life-sized “Virgin with the Iris,” a piece remarkable for the fine romantic invention of its background, but plainly showing the hand of an assistant, perhaps Hans Baldung, in its execution: the best version is in the Cook collection at Richmond, an inferior one in the Rudolphinum at Prague. In 1508 Dürer returned to a subject which he had already treated in an early woodcut, the “Massacre of the Ten Thousand Martyrs of Nicomedia.” The picture, painted for the elector Frederick of Saxony, is now in the Imperial Gallery at Vienna; the overcrowded canvas (into which Dürer has again introduced his own portrait as a spectator alongside of the elector) is full of striking and animated detail, but fails to make any great impression on the whole, and does not do justice to the improved sense of breadth and balance in design, of clearness and dignity in composition, which the master had undoubtedly brought back with him from his second visit to Italy. In 1509 followed the “Assumption of the Virgin” with the Apostles gathered about her tomb, a rich altarpiece with figures of saints and portraits of the donor and his wife in the folding wings, executed for Jacob Heller, a merchant of Frankfort, in 1509. This altarpiece was afterwards replaced at Frankfort (all except the portraits of the donors, which remained behind) by a copy, while the original was transported to Munich, where it perished by fire in 1674. The copy, together with the many careful and highly finished preparatory studies for the heads, limbs and draperies which have been preserved, shows that this must have been the one of Dürer’s pictures in which he best combined the broader vision and simpler habits of design which had impressed him in the works of Italian art with his own inherited and ingrained love of unflinchingly grasped fact and rugged, accentuated character. In 1511 was completed another famous painting, multitudinous in the number of its figures though of very moderate dimensions, the “Adoration of the Trinity by all the Saints,” a subject commissioned for a chapel dedicated to All Saints in an almshouse for decayed tradesmen at Nuremberg, and now at the Imperial Gallery at Vienna. Nothing can exceed the fulness and variety of invention, or the searching force and precision of detail in this picture; nor does it leave so much to desire as several of the master’s other paintings in point of colour-harmony and pleasurable general effect.

In the meantime Dürer had added a few to the number of his line-engravings and had completed the two woodcut series of the Great Passion, begun about 1498-1499, and the Life of the Virgin. The new subjects compared with the old show some falling off in dramatic stress and intensity of expression, but on the other hand a marked gain in largeness of design and clearness of composition. In 1511 these two works were brought out for the first time, and the Apocalypse series in a second edition; and for the next three years, 1511-1514, engraving both on wood and copper, but especially the latter, took the first place among Dürer’s activities. Besides such fine single woodcuts as the “Mass of St Gregory,” the “St Christopher,” the “St Jerome,” and two Holy Families of 1511, Dürer published in the same year the most numerous and popularly conceived of all his woodcut series, that known from the dimensions of its thirty-seven subjects as the “Little Passion” on wood; and in the next year, 1512, a set of fifteen small copper-engravings on the same theme, the “Little Passion” on copper. Both of these must represent the labour of several preceding years: one or two of the “Little Passion” plates, dating back as far as 1507, prove that this series at least had been as long as five years in his mind. In thus repeating over and over on wood and copper nearly the same incidents of the Passion, or again in rehandling them in yet another medium, as in the highly finished series of drawings known as the “Green Passion” in the Albertina at Vienna, Dürer shows an inexhaustible variety of dramatic and graphic invention, and is never betrayed into repeating an identical action or motive.

In 1513 and 1514 appeared the three most famous of Dürer’s works in copper-engraving, “The Knight and Death” (or simply “The Knight,” as he himself calls it, 1513), the “Melancolia” and the “St Jerome in his Study” (both 1514). These are the masterpieces of the greatest mind which ever expressed itself in this form of art. Like other masterpieces, they suggest much more than they clearly express, and endless meanings have been, rightly or wrongly, read into them by posterity. Taken together as a group, they have been supposed to be three out of an uncompleted series designed to illustrate the four “temperaments” and complexions of men. Again, more reasonably, they have been taken as types severally of the moral, the intellectual and the theological virtues. The idea at the bottom of the “Knight and Death” seems to be a combination of the Christian knight of Erasmus’s Enchiridion militis Christiani with the type, traditional in medieval imagery, of the pilgrim on his way through the world. The imaginative force of the presentation, coming from a man of Dürer’s powers, is intense; but what consciously occupied him most may well have been the problem how to draw accurately the proportions and action of a horse in motion. This problem he here solves for the first time, with the help of an Italian example: at least his design so closely repeats that of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous and early destroyed equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza that we must certainly suppose him to have seen either the model itself or such a drawing of it as is still preserved by Leonardo’s own hand. The face of the rider seems to recall that of the statue of Bartolommeo Colleoni at Venice; for the armour Dürer had recourse to an old drawing of his own, signed and dated in 1498. The “Melancolia,” numbered “1” as though intended to be the first of a series, with its brooding winged genius sitting dejectedly amidst a litter of scientific instruments and symbols, is hard to interpret in detail, but impossible not to recognize in general terms as an embodiment of the spirit of intellectual research (the student’s “temperament” was supposed to be one with the melancholic), resting sadly from its labours in a mood of lassitude and defeat. Comparatively cheerful beside these two is the remaining subject of the student saint reading in his chamber, with his dog and domestic lion resting near him, and a marvellous play of varied surface and chequered light on the floor and ceiling of his apartment and on all the objects which it contains. Besides these three masterpieces of line-engraving, the same years, 1512-1515, found Dürer occupied with his most important experiments in etching, both in dry-point (“The Holy Family and Saints” and the “St Jerome in the Wilderness”) and with the acid bath. At the same time he was more taken up than ever, as is proved by the contents of a sketch-book at Dresden, with mathematical and anatomical studies on the proportions and structure of the human frame. A quite different kind of study, that of the postures of wrestlers in action, is illustrated by a little-known series of drawings, still of the same period, at Vienna. Almost the only well-authenticated painting of the time is a “Virgin and Child” in the Imperial Museum at Vienna. The portraits of the emperors Charles the Great and Sigismund (1512), in their present state at any rate, can hardly be recognized as being by the master’s hand. An interval of five years separates the Vienna “Madonna” from the two fine heads of the apostles Philip and James in the Uffizi at Florence, the pair of boys’ heads painted in tempera on linen in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris, the “Madonna with the Pink” at Augsburg, and the portrait of Wolgemut at Munich, all of 1516. Among engravings of the same time are three Madonnas, the apostles Thomas and Paul, a bagpiper and two peasants dancing, and three or four experiments in etching on plates of iron and zinc. In wood-engraving his energies were almost entirely given to bearing a part—which modern research has proved to have been not nearly so large as was traditionally supposed—in the great decorative schemes commanded by the Emperor Max in his own honour, and devised and carried out by a whole corps of men of letters and artists: namely, the Triumphal Gate and the Triumphal March or Procession. A third and smaller commemorative design, the Triumphal Car, originally designed to form part of the second but in the end issued separately, was entirely Dürer’s own work. A far more successful and attractive effort of his genius in the same service is to be found in the marginal decorations done by him in pen for the emperor’s prayer-book. This unequalled treasure of German art and invention has in later times been broken up, the part executed by Dürer being preserved at Munich, the later sheets, which were decorated by other hands, having been transported to Besançon. Dürer’s designs, drawn with the pen in pale lilac, pink and green, show an inexhaustible richness of invention and an airy freedom and playfulness of hand beyond what could be surmised from the sternness of those studies which he made direct from life and nature. They range from subjects of the homeliest and most mirthful realism to others serious and devout, and from literal or almost literal transcripts of natural form to the most whimsically abstract combinations of linear pattern and tendril and flourish.

All these undertakings for his imperial friend and patron were stopped by the emperor’s death in 1519. A portrait-drawing by the master done at Augsburg a few months previously, one of his finest works, served him as the basis both of a commemorative picture and a woodcut. Other paintings of this and the succeeding year we may seek for in vain; but in line engravings we have four more Madonnas, two St Christophers, one or two more peasant subjects, the well-known St Anthony with the view of Nuremberg in the background, and the smaller of the two portraits of the Cardinal-Elector of Mainz; and in wood-engraving several fine heraldic pieces, including the arms of Nuremberg.

In the summer of 1520 the desire of Dürer to secure from Maximilian’s successors a continuance of the patronage and privileges granted during his lifetime, together with an outbreak of sickness in Nuremberg, gave occasion to the master’s fourth and last journey from home. Together with his wife and her maid he set out in July for the Netherlands in order to be present at the coronation of the young emperor Charles V., and if possible to conciliate the good graces of the all-powerful regent Margaret. In the latter part of his aim Dürer was but partially successful. His diary of his travels enables us to follow his movements almost day by day. He journeyed by the Rhine, Cologne, and thence by road to Antwerp, where he was handsomely received, and lived in whatever society was most distinguished, including that of Erasmus of Rotterdam. Besides his written notes, interesting traces of his travels exist in the shape of the scattered leaves of a sketch-book filled with delicate drawings in silver-point, chiefly views of places and studies of portrait and costume. Several of his finest portrait-drawings in chalk or charcoal, including those of his brother artists Lucas Van Leyden and Bernard Van Orley, as well as one of two fine portrait paintings of men, belong to the period of this journey. So does a magnificent drawing of a head of a nonagenarian with a flowing beard who sat to him at Antwerp, together with a picture from the same head in the character of St Jerome; the drawing is now at Vienna, the picture at Lisbon. Dürer’s interest and curiosity, both artistic and personal, were evidently stimulated by his travels in the highest degree. Besides going to Aachen for the coronation, he made excursions down the Rhine from Cologne to Nijmwegen, and back overland by ’s Hertogenbosch; to Brussels; to Bruges and Ghent; and to Zealand with the object of seeing a natural curiosity, a whale reported ashore. The vivid account of this last expedition given in his diary contrasts with the usual dry entries of interviews and disbursements. A still more striking contrast is the passionate outburst of sympathy and indignation with which, in the same diary, he comments on the supposed kidnapping of Luther by foul play on his return from the diet of Worms. Without being one of those who in his city took an avowed part against the old ecclesiastical system, and probably without seeing clearly whither the religious ferment of the time was tending—without, that is, being properly speaking a Reformer—Dürer in his art and his thoughts was the incarnation of those qualities of the German character and conscience which resulted in the Reformation; and, personally, with the fathers of the Reformation he lived in the warmest sympathy.

On the 12th of July 1521 Dürer reached home again. Drawings of this and the immediately following years prove that on his return his mind was full of schemes for religious pictures. For a great group of the Madonna surrounded with saints there are extant two varying sketches of the whole composition and a number of finished studies for individual heads and figures. Less abundant, but still sufficient to prove the artist’s intention, are the preliminary studies to a picture of the Crucifixion. There exist also fine drawings for a “Lamentation over the body of Christ,” an “Adoration of the Kings,” and a “March to Calvary”; of the last-named composition, besides the beautiful and elaborate pen-and-ink drawing at Florence, three still more highly-wrought versions in green monochrome exist; whether any of them are certainly by the artist’s own hand is matter of debate. But no religious paintings on the grand scale, corresponding to these drawings of 1521-1524, were ever carried out; perhaps partly because of the declining state of the artist’s health, but more because of the degree to which he allowed his time and thoughts to be absorbed in the preparation of his theoretical works on geometry and perspective, proportion and fortification. Like Leonardo, but with much less than Leonardo’s genius for scientific speculation and divination, Dürer was a confirmed reasoner and theorist on the laws of nature and natural appearances. He himself attached great importance to his studies in this kind; his learned friends expected him to give their results to the world; which accordingly, though having little natural gift or felicity in verbal expression, he laboured strenuously to do. The consequence was that in the last and ripest years of his life he produced as an artist comparatively little. In painting there is the famous portrait of Hieronymus Holtzschuher at Berlin, in which the personality and general aspect of the sitter assert themselves with surprising power. This and the Antwerp head of Jerome are perhaps the most striking examples of Dürer’s power of forcing into subordination to a general impression such a multiplicity of insistent detail as would have smothered any weaker conception than his. No other hand could have ventured to render the hair and beard of a sitter, as it was the habit of this inveterate linearist to do, not by indication of masses, but by means of an infinity of single lines swept, with a miraculous certainty and fineness of touch, in the richest and most intricate of decorative curves. To the same period belong a pleasing but somewhat weak “Madonna and Child” at Florence; and finally, still in the same year 1526, the two famous panels at Munich embodying the only one of the great religious conceptions of the master’s later years which he lived to finish. These are the two pairs of saints, St John with St Peter in front and St Paul with St Mark in the background. The John and Paul are conceived and executed really in the great style, with a commanding nobility and force alike in the character of the heads, the attitudes, and the sweep of draperies; they represent the highest achievement of early German art in painting. In copper-engraving Dürer’s work during the same years was confined entirely to portraits, those of the cardinal-elector of Mainz (“The Great Cardinal”), Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony, Willibald Pirkheimer, Melanchthon and Erasmus. To the tale of his woodcuts, besides a few illustrations to his book on measurements (that is, geometry and perspective), and on fortification, he only added one Holy Family and one portrait, that of his friend Eoban Hesse. Of his theoretical books, he only succeeded in getting two finished and produced during his lifetime, that on geometry and perspective or measurement, to use his own title—which was published at Nuremberg in 1525, and that on fortification, published in 1527; the work on human proportions was brought out shortly after his death in 1528. His labours, whether artistic or theoretic, had for some time been carried on in the face of failing health. In the canals of the Low Countries he had caught a fever, of which he never shook off the effects. We have the evidence of this in his own written words, as well as in a sketch which he drew to indicate the seat of his suffering to some physician with whom he was in correspondence, and again in the record of his physical aspect which is preserved by a portrait engraved on wood just after his death, from a drawing made no doubt not long before in this portrait we see his shoulders already bent, the features somewhat gaunt, the old pride of the abundant locks shorn away. The end came on the night of the 6th of April 1528, so suddenly that there was no time to call his dearest friends to his bedside. He was buried in a vault which belonged to his wife’s family, but was afterwards disturbed, in the cemetery of St John at Nuremberg. An appropriate Requiescat is contained in the words of Luther, in a letter written to their common friend Eoban Hesse:—“As for Dürer, assuredly affection bids us mourn for one who was the best of men, yet you may well hold him happy that he has made so good an end, and that Christ has taken him from the midst of this time of trouble and from greater troubles in store, lest he, that deserved to behold nothing but the best, should be compelled to behold the worst. Therefore may he rest in peace with his fathers: Amen.”

The principal extant paintings of Dürer, with the places where they are to be found, have been mentioned above. Of his drawings, which for students are the most vitally interesting part of his works, the richest collections are in the Albertina at Vienna, the Berlin Museum and the British Museum. The Louvre also possesses some good examples, and many others are dispersed in various public collections, as in the Musée Bonnat at Bayonne, at Munich, Hamburg, Bremen, Frankfort, Dresden, Basel, Milan, Florence and Oxford, as well as in private hands all over Europe.

The principal editions of Dürer’s theoretical writings are these:—

Geometry and Perspective.—Underweysung der Messung mit dem Zirckel und Richtscheyt, in Linien, Ebnen und ganzen Corporen (Nuremberg, 1525, 1533, 1538). A Latin translation of the same, with a long title (Paris, Weichel, 1532) and another ed. in 1535. Again in Latin, with the title Institutionum geometricarum libri quatuor (Arnheim, 1605).

Fortification.Etliche Underricht zu Befestigung der Stett, Schloss und Flecken (Nuremberg, 1527), and other editions in 1530, 1538 and 1603 (Arnheim). A Latin translation, with the title De urbibus, arcibus, castellisque muniendis ac condendis (Paris, Weichel, 1535). See the article Fortification.

Human Proportion.Hierinnen sind begriffen vier Bücher von menschlicher Proportion (Nuremberg, 1582, and Arnheim, 1603). Latin translation: De symetria partium in rectis formis humanorum corporum libri in latinum conversi, de varietate figurarum, &c. libri ii. (Nuremberg, 1528, 1532 and 1534); (Paris, 1535, 1537, 1557). French translation (Paris, 1557, Arnheim, 1613, 1614). Italian translation (Venice, 1591, 1594); Portuguese translation (1599); Dutch translation (Arnheim, 1622, 1662).

The private literary remains of Dürer, his diary, letters, &c., were first published, partially in Von Murr’s Journal zur Kunstgeschichte (Nuremberg, 1785-1787); afterwards in Campe’s Reliquien von A. Dürer (Nuremberg, 1827); again edited by Thausing, in the Quellenschriften für Kunstgeschichte und Kunsttechnik (Vienna, 1872), but most completely in Lange and Fuhse’s Dürers schriftlicher Nachlass (Halle, 1893); W. M. Conway’s Literary Remains of A. Dürer (London, 1889) contains extensive transcripts from the MSS. in the British Museum.

The principal remaining literature of the subject will be found in the following books and treatises—Johann Neudörfer, Schreib- und Rechenmeister zu Nürnberg, Nachrichten über Künstlern und Werkleuten daselbst (Nuremberg, 1547); republished in the Vienna Quellenschrift (1875); C. Scheurl, Vita Antonii Kressen (1515, reprinted in the collection of Pirkheimer’s works, Frankfort 1610); Wimpheling, Epitome rerum Germanicarum, ch. 68 (Strassburg, 1565); Joachim von Sandrart, Deutsche Academie (Nuremberg, 1675); Doppelmayr, Historische Nachricht von den nürnbergischen Mathematicis und Künstlern (Nuremberg, 1730); C. G. von Murr, Journal zur Kunstgeschichte, as above; Adam Bartsch, Le Peintre-Graveur, vol. vii. (Vienna, 1808); J. P. Passavant, Le Peintre-Graveur, vol. iii. (Leipzig, 1842); J. F. Roth, Leben Albrecht Dürers (Leipzig, 1791); Heller, Das Leben und die Werke Albrecht Dürers, vol. ii. (Bamberg, 1827-1831); B. Hausmann, Dürers Kupferstiche, Radirungen, Holzschnitte und Zeichnungen (Hanover, 1861); R. von Rettberg, Dürers Kupferstiche und Holzschnitte (Munich, 1876); M. Thausing, Dürer, Geschichte seines Lebens und seiner Kunst (Leipzig, 1876, 2nd ed., 1884), English translation (from the 1st ed. by F. A. Eaton, London, 1882); W. Schmidt in Dohme’s Kunst und Künstler des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit (Leipzig, 1877); Œuvre de Albert Dürer reproduit et publié par Amand-Durand, texte par Georges Duplessis (Paris, 1877); C. Ephrussi, A. Dürer et ses dessins (Paris, 1882); F. Lippmann, Zeichnungen von A. Dürer in Nachbildungen (5 vols. Berlin, 1883-1905); A. Springer, Albrecht Dürer (Berlin, 1892); D. Burckhardt, Dürers Aufenthalt in Basel, 1492-1494 (Munich, 1892); G. von Terey, A Dürers venezianischer Aufenthalt, 1494-1495 (Strassburg, 1892); S. R. Koehler, A Chronological Catalogue of the Engravings, Dry Points and Etchings of A. Dürer (New York, 1894); L. Cust, A. Dürer, a Study of his Life and Works (London, 1897); Dürer Society’s Publications (10 vols., 1898-1907), edited by C. Dodgson and S. M. Peartree; H. Knackfuss, Dürer (Bielefeld and Leipzig, 6th ed., 1899), English translation, 1900; B. Haendcke, Die Chronologie der Landschaften A. Dürers (Strassburg, 1899); M. Zucker, Albrecht Dürer (Halle, 1899-1900); L. Justi, Konstruierte Figuren und Köpfe unter den Werken Albrecht Dürers (Leipzig, 1902); A. Pelzer, A. Dürer und Friedrich II. von der Pfalz (Strassburg, 1905); H. Wölfflin, Die Kunst A. Dürers (Munich, 1905); W. Weisbach, Der junge Dürer (Leipzig, 1906); V. Scherer, A. Dürer (Klassiker der Kunst, iv.), (2nd ed., Stuttgart, 1906).

Apart from books, a large and important amount of the literature on Dürer is contained in articles scattered through the leading art periodicals of Germany, such as the Jahrbücher of the Berlin and Vienna museums, Repertorium für Kunstwissenschaft, Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, &c. A comprehensive survey of this literature is afforded by Prof. H. W. Singer’s Versuch einer Dürer-Bibliographie (Strassburg, 1903); articles published more recently will be found completely enumerated in A. Jellinek’s Internationale Bibliographie der Kunstwissenschaft (Berlin)."

- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica

Monday, 16 May 2016

Stephan Michelspacher - Cabala: The Mirror of Art and Nature (1663) [English text]

Cabala: The Mirror of Art and Nature
by Stephan Michelspacher

{Latin: Cabala Speculum Artis et Naturae in Alchymia}
{German: Cabala: Spiegel Der Kunst und Natur}


English Translation by Gisela Kirberg 

"CABALA: SPIEGEL DER KUNST VND NATUR was first published precisely four hundred years ago in the Free Imperial City of Augsburg, located in the Holy Roman Empire. The first edition was printed by Johann Schultes Sr., and published by the enigmatic Tyrolean, Stephan Michelspacher. CABALA remains one of the most fascinating, beautiful and problematic alchemical texts of the early seventeenth century. Its short text, partly in verse-form, describes three steel mirrors forged by the heat of the sun and revealed by the grace of God, which are at least partly metaphorical. When combined together, these mirrors – which reflect the Paracelsian triumvirate of mercury, salt and sulphur – reveal the great Arcanum, or secret of alchemical transmutation. The text is accompanied by four large plates, beautifully engraved by Raphael Custos (1590-1664), which similarly  encode the steps of progression to the work of transmutation, and which map onto the four mirrors of the text. The 1616 Latin edition introduces a further layer of complexity, by associating the tract with the Rosicrucian fraternity." - Ouroborus Press
"Stephan Michelspacher alluded in the third of his stunning engravings to the ascending aspect of steps, as a common theme in emblems and allegories throughout the Middle Ages. There is also an implied reference to Jacob’s ladder connecting the terrestrial and celestial world, as captured in the Tabula Smaragdina’s famous phrase ‘that which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above’."
"Following the dedication is a treatise of nine pages subdivided in five sections: 1) ‘Eingang an den Leser dieser Kunst’, 2) ‘Vorred’, 3) ‘Kunst’, 4) ‘Erklärung der Kunst’, and 5) ‘Zum Beschluß ein Erklärung des uhralten Steins’. Michelspacher’s ‘Cabala’ should be interpreted as ‘Cabala chymica’ or ‘Chemia cabalistica’, i.e. in Paracelsian terms. Thus in Paracelsus’ Philosophia sagax, the ‘Ars Cabalistica’ is a potent adjunct to natural magic. In his Cabala, Michelspacher gives an explanation of the alchemical operations that are illustrated in the engravings. He explains that by following these steps of the process in the right order, the hidden secrets of nature will become clear and the Great Work can be completed"
 - "Divine Wisdom - Divine Nature", Published by The Ritman Library
AGLA(אגלא) is a notariqon (kabbalistic acronym) for Atah Gibor Le-olam Adonai,"You, O Lord, are mighty forever." It is said daily in the second blessing of the Amidah, the central Jewish prayer. Also seen as Athah gabor leolah, adonai, (אתה גבור לעולם אדני - Thou art powerful and eternal, Lord) Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers has suggested an arbitrary interpretation of AGLA (אגלא) as "A the one first, A the one last, G, the trinity in unity, L, the completion of the Great Work."[1] According to The Triangular Book of the Count of St Germain God by the name of AGLA was responsible for the preservation of Lot and his family from the fire of Sodom and Gomorrah.
A monograph for AGLA appeared in Stephan Michelspacher's book Spiegel der Kunst und Natur (The Mirror of Art and Nature), which was published in Augsburg, 1615. This was an Alchemical work strongly influenced by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's view of the Kabbalah and magic. Adam McLean describes the centre panel as "two circular diagrams with the German GOTT (the name of God) around the outside, and also the Alpha and Omega and the monograph which may be the name of God, Agla.[2] This represents the beginning - alpha - within the end - omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. This relates to claim related in the Book of Revelation that Jesus was "the "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (22.13).



What kind of a thing the Ancient Stone of the Philosophers is,
which, though threefold, is but a Stone.
This is shown here, with God's help and as clearly as a mirror,
to all the arduous and toiling lovers of the Art,
for much has hitherto been written about it but only few know it.
The whole truth explained and revealed quite openly and briefly
by means of the accompanying plates.
By someone who is unknown but named,
as the signet in the first plate testifies.


To the reader of this Art

He who reads without understanding
Is like a shadow on the wall.
He who sees a l o t with his eyes,
Yet understands none of it,
Is poorer than the blind man
Who does not see yet understands.
Thus: turn round the mirror,
And you see the whole
Of what there is to be seen in it.
This path will not lead you astray,
For it is as straight as a ruler
And runs through the whole circle.
So you will find the Three standing in the Four
And through the One going into the centre.
And out of the centre will emerge the Three
By virtue of the Four in the circle.
Now you have got a complete mirror,
Through which even a blind, entrenched man
Can see black, white and also red -
All that lies hidden in the muck,
From which it must be brought to daylight
And have its coarseness taken away,
And must be again sublimated,
So that it yields one hundred thousand times as much.
There is then no end to this.
Blessed is he who completes it thus.
This is my New Year's wish,
Surely and truly,
That this may be the final goal of the Art


Beloved and good-hearted reader, as all things - skills and talents - are in
the hands of God the Almighty, to be given by His grace to whomsoever He
chooses, He has looked upon me, His humble creature, with mercy and has
bestowed on me a splendid gift in that He has selected me, an unworthy man, to reveal His great secrets, although He, the Almighty God, could have given it to many another who is of greater rank, learning and worldly dignity.

And because through God the light has been revealed to me, to His praise
and to man's benefit, it seems fitting that I should not hide it under a bench or a bushel but put i t openly onto the table so that anyone who comes may see and understand what he is to do or to leave alone.

I have thus taken it upon myself, in a humble spirit, to show this same light to all men, as my equals and as lovers of the Art and Nature who are experienced in spagyric skills, through a mirror, in images, through the Cabala and the Art Alchymia. From these images, so I hope, they will gain perfect understanding of this mirror, which they can put to much fruitful and beneficial effect, firstly for the health of their earthly bodies and secondly for the sustenance of their souls, so that they may enter the eternal life.

And alacrity and by means of the pure spagyric art, and in it I can see God and everything perfectly - also the wretchednedness of the poor - as often as I want. It can be called a treasure above all other treasures. Such a one I am keeping with me safely, so that it cannot be stolen or used to harm others. 

I hope that my simple explanation has given sufficient indication to those who understand these matters, aa to the beneficial effect these plates can be used to by the lovers of the spagyric art. I f they are in union with God and Nature, they will find in this mirror more than I or anyone else can describe: the ability to see everything that has ever been written and shown through these images.

However, this only comes to those who are well experienced with all the skills of the just and true Alchymia, the spagyric art. To them nothing in Nature is so small as to remain hidden. The degrees or stages must be carried out in their correct order in the work. Firstly, as plate 1 shows, comes the stage of Calcination, by which is understood the Reverberation and the Cementation.

The next stage expresses the stage of Exaltation, by which is understood Sublimation and Elevation, together with Distillation. The third plate concerns the stage of Conjunction, which also covers the stages of Putrefaction, Solution, Desolution and Resolution, also Digestion and Circulation. The fourth plate contains the concept of Multiplication, which includes the Ascension, the Washing, Imbibition, Cohobition, also Coagulation, Fixation, Augmentation and Tincturation.

These stages must be worked through by him who desires to walk this path of bringing the three mirrors into one, by means of his reason and the instruction of the four main pillars: Philosophy, Astronomy, Alchemy and the Virtues. In plate 2, opposite the alphabet around the circle, the true Materia is spelt out letter by letter as it is to be used in our Art, explained clearly and explicitly. If you understand the alphabet correctly and all the letters beside it, then you will see what there is to be seen in it for you. The same applies to the four properties in plate 1 and plate 3, namely the qualities of the elements: hot, dry, cold and moist. These make you understand the right primam & ultimam Materiam by which everything can be achieved, as I have already explained briefly. For the sake of brevity I have refrained from going into greater detail, as highly enlightened and learned and noble men of God's German nation have written at length about these matters long before me, and brought them to daylight for you students, and have said as much as is possible.

From these you may get further elucidation to serve you in your task. For I can see very well that writing a lot about these things does not bear much fruit, whereas everything has been brought to the light of day clearly in these plates, or so I hope.

However, if I were to learn that the lovers of this Art are not satisfied and desire more instruction, my pen will not be unwilling to reveal all that I have learned through my own experience. In brief shall then follow a booklet, God and time permitting, which will give in four parts, point by point, the contents of the two main pillars as are seen in the first plate: Nature and the Art.

Meanwhile may you be satisfied with this simple exposition of my mirror - to begin with. He who is humble can see more elevated things than he who is elevated, for elevated eyes do not wed humility. Thus this has been written only for those who are experienced in the Art of spagyric skills.


With this I conclude freely:
That is the basis of the highest medicine
In Alchemy, in Art, it is the composed flower
Highly honoured and treated with decorum,
Created and composed by God
Aqua viscosa being the first substance
As the wise men have said.
Through Art from Nature
Is born the highest Tincture.
Three principles reside therein
Therefore our stone is threefold:
mineral, animal
and also vegetable
That is truly body, soul and spirit
As Nature offers i t to us
Honeysweet and a soft salt,
Lunar, liquid, fatty like lard
Solar Leo viridis green
Occultum sulphur is the gain of the wise men.
Anima of the body, exalted and precious,
Quinta Essentia our fire
The flower effects Regeneration
No other fire can achieve this.
The fire of the wise men is the Art,
Without it all work is in vain.
Truly, I tell you: if you worked
for a hundred or a thousand years
It would all be in vain
You would achieve no perfection
But instead waste your time and money.
Therefore you must study hard
And mark well these words:
A fire without light and without coal
Needs Spiritus vivificans with a clap
That enlivens all dead metals.
This fire is supernatural
And can be found in live compost and horsedung,
It is called the Fire of the Wise.
Now mark this well
For it can help you in times of need:
But don't start looking for it in horsedung
It would be a great pity
If you occupied yourself with such nonsense
You would make a laughing-stock of yourself in the whole land.
Strive to achieve knowledge and understanding of the ancient stone
And you will have your heart's desire
Blessed is he to whom God grants it.

Aesch Mezareph (The Purifying Fire)



The Purifying Fire.


"Aesch mezareph ; or, purifying fire : a chymico-kabalistic treatise collected from the Kabala denudata of Knorr von Rosenroth"



Elisha was a most notable prophet, an example of natural wisdom, a despiser of riches, (as the history of the healing of Naaman showeth, 2 Kings, c.5, v.16) and therefore truly rich. According to what is said in Pirke Aboth, viz., Who is rich ? He that rejoiceth in his portion, cap. 4. For so the true physician of impure metals hath not an outward show of riches, but is rather like the Tohu of the first Nature, empty and void. Which word is of equal number with the word Elisha, viz., 411. For it is a very true saying in Baba Kama, fol. 71. col. 2. The thing which causeth riches, (such as natural wisdom) is supplied instead of riches.

Learn therefore to purify Naaman, coming from the north, out of Syria, and acknowledge the power of Jordan: Which is as it were Jar-din that is the River of Judgment flowing out of the north.

And remember that which is said in Baba Bathra, fol. 25, col. 2. He that will become wise, let him live in the South; and he that will grow rich, let him turn himself toward the north, etc. Although in the same place Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi says, let him live always in the south, for whilst be becomes wise, at the same time he becomes rich. "Length of Days is in her right hand, and in her left, Riches and Honour." Prov., c.3, v.16. So thou wilt not desire other riches.

But know, that the mysteries of this wisdom, differ not from the superior mysteries of the Kabalah. For such as is the consideration of the predicaments in holiness, the same is also in impurity; and the same Sephiroth which are in Atziluth, the same are in Assiah, yea, the same in that kingdom, which is commonly called the mineral kingdom; although their excellency is always greater upon the spiritual plane. Therefore the metallic root here possesseth the place of Kether, which hath an occult nature, involved in great obscurity, and from which all metals have their origin; even as the nature of Kether is hidden, and the other Sephiroth flow from thence.

Lead hath the place of Chokmah, because Chokmah immediately proceeds from Kether, as it immediately comes from the metallic root, and in enigmatic similes, it is called the "father" of the following natures.

Tin possesseth the place of Binah, shewing age, by its greyness, and shadowing forth severity and judicial rigour, by its crackling.

Silver is placed under the Classis of Chesed, by all the masters of the Kabalah, chiefly for its colour and use.

Thus far the white natures. Now follow the red.

Gold is placed under Geburah, according to the most common opinion of the Kabalists; Job in c.37, v.22, also tells us that gold cometh from the north, not only for its colour, but for the sake of its heat and sulphur.

Iron is referred to Tiferet, for he is like a man of war, according to Exod., c.15, v.2, and hath the name of "Ze'ir Anpin", from his swift anger, according to Psalm 2, v.ult., "kiss the son lest he be angry."

Netzach and Hod are the two median places of the body, and the seminal receptacles, and refer to the hermaphroditic brass. So also the two pillars of the Temple of Solomon (referring to these two Sephiroth) were made of brass, I Kings, c.7, v.15.

Yesod is argent vive. For to this, the name "living" is characteristically given; and this living water is in every case the foundation of all Nature and of the metallic art.

But the true medicine of metals is referred to Malkuth, for many reasons; because it represents the rest of the natures under the metamorphoses of Gold and Silver, right and left, judgment and mercy, concerning which we will speak more largely elsewhere.

Thus I have delivered to thee the key to unlock many secret gates, and have opened the door to the inmost adyta of Nature. But if anyone hath placed those things in another order, I shall not contend with him, inasmuch as all systems tend to the one truth.

For it may be said, the three supernals are the three fountains of metallic things. The thick water is Kether, salt is Chokmah, and sulphur is Binah; for known reasons. And so the seven inferior will represent the seven metals, viz., Gedulah and Geburah, Silver and Gold; Tiferet, Iron; Netzach and Hod, Tin and Copper; Yesod, Lead; and Malkuth will be the metallic woman, and the Luna of the wise men; and the field into which the seeds of secret minerals ought to be cast, that is the water of Gold, as this name (Mezahab) occurs, Genesis, c.36, v.39.

But know, my Son, that such mysteries are hid in these things as no tongue may be permitted to utter. But I will not offend any more with my tongue, but will keep my mouth with a bridle, Psalm 39, v.2.

Gehazi the Servant of Elisha, is the type of the vulgar students of Nature, who contemplate the valley and depths of Nature, but do not penetrate into her secrets.

Hence they labour in vain, and remain servants for ever. They give counsel about procuring the son of the wise men whose generation exceeds the power of Nature, but they can add nothing to assist in his generation, 2 Kings, c.4, v.14 (for which purpose a man like Elisha is required). For Nature doth not open her secrets to them, v.26, but contemns them, v.30, and the raising of the dead is impossible to them, v.31. They are covetous, cap. 5, v.20; liars, v.22; deceivers, v.25; prattlers of other men's deeds, 2 Kings, c.8, v.4-5, and instead of riches, contract a leprosy themselves, that is disease, contempt and poverty, v.27. For the word Gehazi, and the word Chol, profane or common, have both the same number.


In metallic things, Geburah is of the class to which Gold is referred; which has again its decad ; (i.e., ten orders or degrees). So that,

1. Chethem, that is, pure fine Gold, is referred to the Kether thereof; which, Canticles, c.5, v.II, is referred to the head.

2. Batzar, Gold, is referred to Chokrnah, as though laid up in strongholds, Job, c.22, v.24, 25, and c.36, v.19

3. Charutz, Prov., c.8, v.10, is referred to Binah, from the digging of it; which name belongs to the feminine gender. 

4. Zahab Shachut, that is, fine and drawn Gold, 2 Chron., c.9, v.15, because it hath the analogy to the thread of Chesed. 

5. Zahab, alone, is referred to Geburah, because gold cometh from the north, Job, c.37, v.22

6. Paz, and Zahab Muphaz, are referred to Tiferet, I Kings, c.10, v.18; Psalm, c.21, v.4, and 19, v.11 ; and Daniel, c.10, v.5. For so Tiferet and Malkuth are compounded in the golden throne, I Kings, c.10, v.18; also when it is called a vessel of Gold, Job, c.28, v.17; a crown of Gold, Psalm 21, v.3; bases of Gold, Cant., c.5, v.75.

7. Zahab Sagur, is referred to Netzach, that is Gold shut up, I Kings, c.4, v.20, 21, Job, c.28, v.15, to wit, to bring forth seed.

8. Zahab Parvajim, is referred to Hod; 2 Chron., c.3, v.6, I Kings, c.6, v.20, from its likeness to the blood of young bullocks, for this kind is red at the left hand. 

9. Zahab Tob, is referred to Yesod, that is good Gold, Gen., c.2, v.12, for this kind is called good, after the manner of a good man.

10. But Zahab Ophir, is referred to Malkuth, Job, c.22, v.24, for it is the name of a land (or earth) as called so from ashes. See also I Chronicles, c.29, v.4.

And now concerning the name Zahab, I will lead thee into the cave of the hidden matter, and will show thee the treasuries of Solomon mentioned in Nehemiah, c.13, v.13, viz., the Perfection of Stones, Exodus, c.26, v.6.

Come see! There are many places, to which Gold is referred, viz., Geburah and Binah, and other special places, where the species of Gold are disposed by one thus, by another other ways. But now I represent to thee the nature of Gold in Tiferet.

Neither can you object out of the Zohar or Tikkunim. For know, that in this place ought to be understood Tiferet, of the measure or degree of Geburah. And it is a great mystery, because Tiferet commonly contains Iron under it, from whence we seek Gold.

This is the Sol or Sun of nature and art, whose lesser number is ten, the symbol of all perfection which number by Gematria also shows you the lesser number of Tiferet likewise the word Atah belonging to the same in its lesser computation.

Mingle therefore Iron and Clay, Daniel, c.2, v.33, and thou shalt have the foundation of Gold.

This is that Gold, to which is attributed the notion of Tetragrammaton, Exodus, c.32, v.5, in the history of the calf, which was to be ground to powder, and thrown upon the waters, v.20, whence you shall see seven kinds of Gold immediately following one another in the work.

First, simple Gold, which is called Zahab barely; for it is truly Gold though not digged out of the earth; nor destroyed by the violence of the fire, but living, rising out of the waters ; sometimes of a black, sometimes of a yellowish, and often like a peacock's colour; going back of its own accord into the waters, and this may he called Zahab Saba, as though you should say, Sabi, the Gold of captivity, because it is newly captured, and shut up in its prison; where it keeps a fast of forty days and nights, that you know not what is become of it, Exodus, c.32, v.1 ; for there is then no external appearance, even as Moses was hidden and they knew not what had become of him.

Secondly, it becomes Zahab Shacuth as though killed and slain, for it dies and its corpse putrefies and grows black: then it is under judgment and the shells rule it, and the powers of the name of 42 letters fulfil their time upon it.

Thirdly, but then follows Zahab Ophir, as though you should say Aphar, for it is of the colour of ashes; which time the twenty-two letters of the alphabet will determine for you.

Fourthly, it becomes Zahab Tob, because it is good to colour, though not of the colour of Gold, but Silver. This may be called Chethem. For it may be so called, according to Lam., c.4, v.1. How shall Gold be coloured with redness, and Hacchethem Hattob, i.e., good Silver be changed? And thence is referred that text in Job, c.22, v.24, and put it upon Opher, he would have said Opheret, Lead, Batsar, Silver, that is this white Gold. For from hence you shall have Silver. And to Silver when it shall be in the state of a stone, add Nachlim, rivers of metallic waters; from whence you shall have Ophir, that is Gold of Ophir, which was accounted the best. Now you shall have the number of the great name Ehejeh; for thou shalt possess, after twenty-one days, these things. If thou wilt now open thy treasure, open it ; but it shalt yet only give Silver as stones, I Kings, c.10, v.27.

But if thou desire more, let thy Gold be.

Fifthly, Zahab Sagur, i.e., shut-up Gold : Let it remain in the prison, in the place of its maturation, in the bowels of the earth of the wise men all the time of the Decumbiture of Ezekiel, c.4, v.6. And thy Gold shall become the

Sixth, Jarak Rak, i.e. yellow Gold, like Zahab Parvajim. These are the thirty men, Judges, c.14, v.19, whom Samson slew. For this being done,

Seventhly, your Gold will be Paz and Muphaz and Uphaz; being strengthened to conquer and colour all imperfect metals.

This is that Charutz, that sharp pointed (or penetrating) thing; which Job, c.41, v.30, says ought to be cast upon clay, i.e., imperfect metals, that hath Cohach, power to produce Gold: for Tit and Cohach are of equal numbers. And make it to boil like a deep pot, a sea of thick metallic waters ; and it shall become like a vessel of paint : But after that it shall make the path to shine, v.31-32. Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom for ever and ever.

I write these things, I the insignificant one, according to my slender knowledge, who have earnestly sought out secret things, to the healing of all creatures. But that which moved me thereto is spoken in Zohar Heaesinu, fol. 145, cap. 580, concerning the office of a physician, that I should not desist from the good and right way until I should find the best medicine : And the words are these;

It is written, Deut., c.32, v.10, "He found him in desert land and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him to find the causes, and made him understand and kept him as the apple of his eye. And rightly because he hath compelled all the cortices to serve him." Thus far was it written in the book of Kartanaeus the physician. And then he drew from this text various observations necessary to a wise physician about the cure of the patient, lying in the chamber of sickness, Genesis, c.39, v.20, where the captives of the king may worship the lord of the world. For when a prudent physician comes, he finds him in the land of the desert, and in the wilderness of the howling solitude, which are as the diseases afflicting him, and finds him in the captivity of the king.

Here it may he objected that it is not lawful to cure him, because the Holy One, who is blessed for ever, hath caused him to be ill and as if a captive. But this is not so ; for David says, Psalm 41, v.2, "Blessed is he who considereth (the curing of) the poor ; the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive." For he is poor who lies in the house of sickness ; and if the physician be wise that Holy One, who is blessed for ever, loads him with blessings, in reference to him, whom he cures. That physician finds him in the land of the desert, that is ill, etc. And what is to be done for him ; Rabbi Eleasar hath told us : Hitherto we have heard nothing of that physician, nor of his book; except that once a certain merchant told me that be heard his father say, that in his time there was a certain physician, who having seen a patient, presently said, "this one will live and that one will die" ; and that it was reported of him, that he was a just and true man fearing sin; and that, if any man could not procure those things he needed, he would buy them for him, and freely supply his necessities ; and that it was said, there was not so nice a man in the whole world, and that he did more with his prayers, than with his hands. And when we supposed this man to be the very same physician, the merchant made reply, "Certainly his book is in my hands, having been left to me as an inheritance by my father; and all the sayings of that book are hidden in the mystery of the law: And in it we do find profound secrets, and many medicines ; which notwithstanding, is not lawful to apply to any, except to him that feared Sin, etc." Rabbi Eleasar said, "lend it to me". He replied, "I will, so as to show to you the power of the sacred light." "And you have heard" (said Rabbi Eleasar) "that Book was in my hands twelve months, and we found in it sublime and precious lights, etc., and we have found in it various sorts of medicines, ordered according to the prescriptions of the law, and the profound secrets, etc. And we said, blessed be the holy and merciful one, who bestoweth a share of wisdom upon men from the supernal wisdom." Thus far here.

These things moved me to seek the like good and secret books ; and from the good hand of my God I found that which I now teach to thee. And the camea of this metal is altogether wonderful, for it consists of six times six partitions, everywhere wonderfully showing the virtue of the letter Vau, related to Tiferet. And all the columns and lines, as well from the bottom to the top, as from the right to the left, and from one angle to another, give the same sum and thou mayest vary the same ad infinitum. And the various totals always observe this principle, that their lesser number is always 3, 9, or 6 ; and again, 3, 9 or 6 and so on. Concerning which I could reveal many things to thee.

Now I add this example, which shows as the total of a line the number 216 of Arjeh our wonderful lion, 14 times, which is the name Zahab, Gold. Compute and be rich.

11   63    5   67   69    1

13   21   53   55   15   59

37   27   31   29   45   47

35   39   43   41   33   25

49   57   19   17   51   23

71    9   65    7    3   61


CHESEPH, Silver is referred to Gedulah on account of its whiteness which denotes Mercy and Pity. In Raja Meh. it is said that by 50 silver shekels, Deut., c. 22, v. 29, is understood Binah, Understanding, but when from 50 portals it inclines to the side of Gedulah--see the book Pardes Rimmonim, tract 23, c. 11.

Cheseph, Silver, in Metallic things Rabbi Mordechai writes thus: 

Let the Red Minera of Silver be taken, let it be ground very finely; add an Ounce and a half of the Calx of Luna to six Ounces of it. Let it be placed in a Sand bath in a Vial sealed. Let there be given a small Fire for the first Eight Days, lest its Radical Humidity be burnt up. The second Week, one degree stronger; and the third yet stronger; and on the fourth, that the sand may not be red hot, but so that when Water is dropped upon it, it may hiss. Then on the top of the Glass, thou shalt have a White Matter, which is the Materia Prima or tinging Arsenic, being the living Water of Metals, which all Philosophers call dry Water, or their Vinegar. Let this be purified thus: Take of the Crystalline Matter sublimed; Let it be ground upon a Marble, with an equal part of Calx of Luna, and let it be put into a Vial sealed, and set in a Sand bath again, the first two Hours with a gentle Fire, the second with a stronger, and the third with one yet more violent, and increased till the Sand will hiss, and our Arsenic will be sublimed again, the starry Beams being sent forth. And since a quantity of this is required thou shalt augment it thus: 

Take six Ounces of this, and an Ounce and a half of the most pure Filings of Luna, and make an Amalgama, and let them be digested in a Vial in hot Ashes, till all the Luna be dissolved, and converted into Arsenical Water. 

Take an Ounce and a half of this Spirit, and place it in a closed Vial: Let this be put into hot Ashes, and it will ascend and descend; which heat continue, till it leaves off Sweating, and it lies at the bottom the Colour of Ashes. Thus the matter is dissolved and putrefied. 

Take one part of this Cinereous Matter, and half a part of the aforesaid Water, let them be mixed and sweat in a Glass, as before, which will happen in about Eight Days; when the Cinereous Earth shall begin to wax white, take it out, and let it be imbibed with five Washings of its Lunar Water, and digested as before. Let it be imbibed the third time, with five Ounces of the same Water, and coagulated as before, for Eight Days. The fourth Imbibition requires seven Ounces of the Lunar Water. And the Sweating being ended, this Preparation is finished. 

Now for the White Work. Take 21 Drachms of this White Earth, 14 Drachms of the Lunar Water, 10 Drachms of Calx of most pure Luna; mix them upon a marble slab and commit them to Coagulation, till they grow hard; imbibe it with three parts of its own Water, till it hath drank up this Portion; and repeat that so often, till it flow on a Copper Plate, made red hot, without Smoke; and then thou shalt have the Tincture for the White, which thou mayest increase by the means aforesaid. 

For the Red, you must use Calx of Sol, and a stronger Fire; and 'tis a work of about four months. Thus this author. 

Let this be compared with the Writing of the Arab Philosopher (Geber), where he writes very fully of the Arsenical Matter. 

Chesed, in the Metallic Kingdom, is Luna, Nemine Contradicente. And so the Lesser Number of Gedulah is as that of Sama, or Sima. Silver is referred to in Prov., c. 16, v. 16, and c. 17, v. 3, and also Psalm 12, v. 7, and Job, c. 28, v. 1. Silver is also found allotted to each one of the Sephirotic Decad, thus see the c. 38 of Exodus, v. 17 and 19, where Silver forms the Chapiters of the Pillars representing Kether or the summit. While Silver is compared with Chokmah, in Proverbs, c. 2, v. 4, and to Binah, in Prov., c. 16, v. 16

Gedulah is manifest out of the History of Abraham, where Silver is always preferred, Gen, c. 13, v. 2, and c. 23, v. 15, 16, and c. 24, v. 35, 53

Geburah is shewed, when Silver is put in the Fire, Prov., c. 17, v. 3, and Num., c. 31, v. 21. Psalm 66, v.10. Prov., c. 27, v. 21. Isaiah, c. 48, v. 10. Ezek., c. 22, v. 22. Zech., c. 13, v. 9. Mal., c. 3, v. 3. 

Tiferet is the Breast of the Statue, in Dan., c. 2, v. 32. 

Netzach is a Vein of Silver, in Job, c. 28, v. 1. 

Hod are the Silver Trumpets, Num., c. 10, v. 2

Yesod is found in Prov., c. 10, v. 20, and Malkuth, in Psalm 12, v. 6

The Camea of this Metal represents nine times nine Squares, showing the same sum twenty times, viz., 369, and in its lesser Number 9, which all the Variations shew, though they should be a thousand times a thousand; because this Chesed (which is Mercy) endureth for ever. Psalm 136, v. 1

37   78   29   70   21   62   13   54    5

 6   38   79   30   71   22   63   14   46

47    7   39   80   31   72   23   55   15

16   48    8   40   81   32   64   24   56

57   17   49    9   41   73   33   65   25

26   58   18   50    1   42   74   34   66

67   27   59   10   51    2   43   75   35

36   68   19   60   11   52    3   44   76

77   28   69   20   61   12   53    4   45

Barzel, Iron; in the Natural Science, this Metal is the middle Line, reaching from one extreme to the other. This is that Male and Bridegroom, without whom the Virgin is not impregnated. This is that Sol, Sun or Gold of the Wise Men, without whom, the Moon will be always in Darkness. He that knows his Rays, works in the Day; others grope in the Night. 

Parzala, whose lesser number is 12, is of the same account as the Name of that Bloody Animal Dob, a Bear, Whose Number is 12 also. 

And this is that Mystical thing, which is written, Dan., 7, 5, "And behold another Beast, a second like unto a Bear, stood on its one side, and it had three Ribs standing out in his Mouth, between his Teeth; and thus they said unto it, Arise, eat much Flesh." The Meaning is, that in order to constitute the Metallic Kingdom, in the second place, Iron is to be taken; in whose Mouth or Opening (which comes to pass in an Earthen Vessel) a threefold Scoria is thrust out, from within its whitish Nature. 

Let him eat Batsar, i.e., Flesh, whose lesser Number is 7, that is Puk, that is Stibium, whose lesser Number in like manner is 7. 

And indeed much Flesh, because the proportion of this, is greater than of that; and indeed such a proportion as Puk, that is 106, bears to Barzel 239; such shall be the proportion of Iron to Antimony. 

But understand the Flesh of the Lion, which is the first Animal; whose Eagle's Wings, and so much as is very Volatile in him, shall be drawn out, and it shall be lifted up, and by purifying be separated from its Earth or Scoria: And it will stand on its Feet; that is, shall get its Consistency, in a Cone; like a Man erect and with a shining Countenance, like Moses. For Enos and Moses in full writing by Gematria each give 351. And the Heart of Iron, [for the heart, Leb and iron, Barzel, in their least Number both give 5], (Mineral) i.e., the Tiferet of Man Mineral shall be given to it. 

For even the name of the Star belonging to this, is Edom, which hath the Connotation of a Red Man. 

These things being done, the third Beast ought to be taken, which is as it were a Leopard, i.e., Water not wetting; the Garden of the Wise Men; for Nimra a Leopard, and Jardin in their lesser Number, make the same Sum, viz., 12, Such also is the Quickness of this Water, that is not unlike a Leopard upon that account. 

And he shall have four Wings of a Bird upon his Back, the four Wings are two Birds, which exasperate this Beast with their Feathers, to the intent he may enter and fight with the Bear and Lion; altho' of himself he be volatile and biting enough, and venomous like a Winged Serpent and Basilisk. 

And the Beast had four Heads; in which Words are understood four Natures lurking in his Composition, i.e., white, red, green, and watery. 

And power was given him over the other Beasts, i.e., the Lion and the Bear, that he may extract their gluten or Blood. 

From all these are made one Fourth Beast in the 7th verse, which is frightful, terrible, and very strong: For it casts forth so great Fumes, that at some times there is Peril of Death, if he be handled at undue time and place. 

And he hath great Teeth of Iron, because this is one of the Parts and Materials compounding it; Eating and Breaking himself, and others to pieces, and Treading the Residue under his Feet. That is, of a Nature so violent, that by many bruisings and tramplings, he is as it were tamed at length. 

And he had ten horns, because he hath the Nature of all the Metallic Numbers. 

A little Horn, etc., for out of this is extracted the young King, who hath the Nature of Tiferet (that is of a Man) but of the Nature or Part of Geburah: For it is that Gold which predominates in the Work of the Wise Men. Thus far the Preparatories. 

And now the Beast is to be killed, and his Body to be destroyed and delivered up to the Fire to be burned, etc. For now follows the Regimen of the Fire. Concerning which elsewhere. 

The Sword of the Illustrious Naaman is also related to the word Barzel. 

Lancea; in the Study of the Metallic Natures, the History of Phinehas, Numbers, c. 25, v. 7, belongs to this place. By the Fornicators are understood the (Masculine) Arsenical Sulphur, and the (feminine) dry Water unduly mixed, together in the Mineral. 

By the Spear of Phinehas is meant the Force of Iron acting upon the Matter to cleanse it of Dross: By which Iron, not only is the Arsenical Sulphur killed, but also the Woman herself is at length mortified; so that the Miracle of Phinehas may be fitly applied here. See also the Targum on this Place, i.e., Numbers, c. 25, v. 7. For the Nature of Iron is wonderful, as its Camea (whose lines add up to 65 each way) shews. 

It is here given: the Number 5, and its Square (i.e., 25) denote the Feminine Nature, which is corrected by this Metal. 

11   24    7   20    3

 4   12   25    8   16

17    5   13   21    9

10   18    1   14   22

23    6   19    2   15


Bedil, Tin; in Natural Science, this Metal is not greatly used; for as it is derived by Separation, so its Matter remains separate from the Universal Medicine.

Amongst the Planets, Zedek is attributed to it; a white wandering Planet, to which the Gentiles applied an Idolatrous Name, mention whereof is forbidden, see Exodus, c. 22, v. 12, and a greater Extirpation is promised, Hosea, c. 2, v. 17, and Zechariah, c. 13, V. 2.

Amongst the Beasts, no Allegory is better applied to this metal than that, because of its Crackling, it should be called Chazir Mijaar, a Boar out of the Wood, Psalm 80, v. 14, whose Number is 545; which is not only made five times from 109, but in its lesser Number shews a Quinary, as the Name Zedek 194; which Numbers being added, make 14; and they make the Number 5, which twice taken is 10, the lesser Number of the word Bedil, by the two figures of 46 being added together. But five times ten shews the Fifty Gates of Binah, and the first Letter of the Sephira Netzach, which is the Sephirotic Class to which this Metal is referred.

In particular Transmutations, its Sulphurous Nature alone doth not profit, but with other Sulphurs, especially those of the Red Metals, it does reduce thick Waters, duly terrificated into Gold; so also into Silver, if its nature be subtilized into a thin water by Quicksilver which (amalgam) amongst others is made well enough by Tin.

But its viscous and watery Nature may be meliorated into Gold, if it be duly pulverized with the Calx of Gold through all the Degrees of Fire, for ten Days, and by degrees thrown upon flowing Gold, in the form of little masses, which also I am taught is to be done with Silver. But no man is wise unless his Master is Experience.

I add no more; He that is wise may correct Natures and help by Experiments where they are imperfect.

Kassitera, Tin; See Bedil's Camea, where the Number resulting from every side is Dal; representing the Tenuity and Vileness of this Metal, in all Metallic Operations.

    4   14   15    1

    9    7    6   12

    5   11   10    8

   16    2    3   13


HOD, in the Wisdom of Nature, is of the Classis of Brass; for the Colour expresses the Nature of Geburah, which this Sephira contains. And the Use of Brass was for instruments of Praise and Music, I Chronicles, c. 15, v. 19. "And Brazen Bows were of Use in War." 2 Samuel, c. 22, V. 35, Job, c. 20, V. 24, and the like, Samuel, c. 17, v. 5, 6, 38.

But as Hod is encompassed with a Serpent, so Nechuseth --Brass is of the same Root with Nachash a Serpent.

'The Seventy Talents of Brass of the Oblation' Exodus, c. 38, v. 29, represent Seventy Princes; for about this place is the greatest Force of the Cortices or Shells. Whence in Hod is a degree of Prophetical Representation, as from the Root Nachash comes Nechashim, Enchantments, Numbers, c. 23, v. 23, and C. 21, V. I. But he that will be curious, may find, that Hod has a special Decad. So also in the History of Brass, from the Law, he may easily gather a Decad.

For may not that Oblation in general from which afterwards Vessels were made for the Tabernacle, Exodus, c. 38, v. 29, be referred to Kether, since all the other degrees spring from this.

Doth not the Laver of Brass, Exodus, c. 30, v. 18, shew the Nature of Chokmah, from which an Influx is let down to all the Inferiors? But the Basis thereof, which also was of Brass, is Binah; for Chokmah resides therein.

Afterwards the Brazen Altar, Exodus, c. 27, v. 2, with its Furniture represents the two Extremes, for the two Bars in the same place were covered over with Brass; and are as it were the two Arms, Gedulah and Geburah. The Body of the Altar itself, Tiferet. The four Rings of Brass, to the right and left are Netzach and Hod.

And the Brazen Net, which was instead of a Foundation, is Yesod.

And if you say, that the Altar was to be referred to Malkuth, according to the most common Opinion, which Altar may represent the Notion of a Woman: I answer, 'Tis true according to the general Distribution of the Tabernacle and Temple. But amongst the special Classis of Brass, where all things before incline to the Female, and so also Tiferet, the Notion of the Male will not be so remote.

For there are yet Adne, Brazen Bases, Exodus, c. 26, v. 37, and c. 27, v. 10, which being as it were the bottom of the Tabernacle, have congruously enough the Nature of Malkuth.

He that would here trace these Mysteries more largely, might easily prolong his Discourse: But a wise Man will in short understand the Foundation.

The wonderful Camea belonging to the Classis of Brass, contains seven times seven Squares; and the Sum of each Line, whether Horizontal, Vertical, or Diagonal, are equal to each other, and to Tzephah . 

22   47   16   41   10   35    4

5   23   48   17   42   11   29

30    6   24   49   18   36   12

13   31    7   25   43   19   37

38   14   32    1   26   44   20

21   39    8   33    2   27   45

46   15   40    9   34    3   28

As for Example, Here all the Columns make the same Tzephah, 175, as is to be seen above; for the first Column to the right, 4, 29, etc., makes 175, and so the rest to the last towards the left. After the same manner note the uppermost corner 22, (where is the Mystery of the 22 Letters) 47, etc., and ending with the number 4, where note the Mystery of the Tetragrammaton and so all to the bottom. Lastly, crosswise from the Angle between the East and South, to the Angle between the West and North, 4, II, 18, etc., are 175, and from the Angle between the East and North, to the Angle between the West and South, viz., 22, 23, 24, etc., make all 175. 

Therefore contemplate these things and thou shalt see an Abyss of Profundity. 

Unless thou hadst rather allude to those Coverings, in which Brass was used, Exodus, c. 27, v. 2, 6, etc. 

So if No. 1 be omitted, and you begin with line 2, there meets you the Sum Botzatz, 1 Samuel, c. 14, v. 4, writ defectively. If you begin with line 3, you will have the like Sum of 189. If you begin with line 4, then 196. If you begin with line 5, then 203. And so they ascend, exceeding one another by 7. 

But if by a skip you dispose the Numbers 1, and 3, and 5, and 7, and 9, etc., then begin with which you will, you will observe the same Proportion. Also 1, and 4, and 7, and 10, and 13, etc. Also 1, and 5, and 9, and 13. This Septenary Net will always, from every Face, represent the same Sum, whose farther Use I should be able to open elsewhere. 

Nechusheth, Brass, see Zohar Pekude, 103, 410, etc., and see Hod as above. Amongst the Planets Nogah, Venus corresponds to it. A necessary Instrument to promote the Metallic Splendour. 

Yet it hath more the part of a Male than Female. For do not deceive thyself, to believe a white Splendour is promised to thee, as the word Nogah infers. But Hod ought to receive a Geburic Influence, and gives it also. O, how great is this Mystery. 

Learn therefore to lift the Serpent up on high, which is called Nechushtan, 2 Kings, c. 18, v. 4, if thou wouldst cure infirm Natures after the Example of Moses. 


CHOKMAH, in the Metallic Doctrine, is the Sephira of Lead, or Primordial Salt, in which the Lead of the Wise Men lies hid. But how is so high a Place attributed to lead which is so Ignoble a Metal, and of which there is so seldom Mention made in the Scripture?

But here lies Wisdom! Its several Degrees are kept very secret; hence there is very little mention made of it. But yet here will not be wanting examples of the particular Sephiroth.

For may not that which, in Zech., c. 5, v. 7, is called a Lifted up Talent of Lead, and brought from the deep, represent the grade of Kether? And that which in the same Chapter, v. 8, is spoken concerning the Stone of Lead, it sets before itself the Letter Jod, which is in Chokmah. 

Then Ezekiel, c. 27, v. 12, Lead is referred to the place of the congregation, of which type is Binah.

And Amos, c. 7, v. 7, Anak, a Leaden Plummet, denotes the Thread of Chesed. For Anak, with the whole Word, hath 72 the Number of Chesed. But in Numbers, c. 31, v. 22, Lead is reckoned amongst those things which can abide the Fire, will be referred to Geburah.

But Job, c. 19, v. 24, graven with an Iron Pen and Lead are joined together, from whence you have Tiferet.

But in Ezekiel, c. 22, v. 18, 20, there is the Furnace, of Trial, or of Grace, or Furnace of Judgment, in which also is put lead; hence, Netzach and Hod; for thence ought to flow a River of Silver.

And Jeremiah, c. 6, v. 29, the Furnace of Probation; out of which, by the means of Lead, good Silver is looked for. Is not the just Man, and he that justifies, Yesod (i.e., the Foundation)?

But if you seek the bottom of the Sea, look upon Exodus, c. 15, v. 10, where the Notion of Malkuth will occur.

This is that Red Sea, out of which the Salt of Wisdom is extracted, and through which the Ships of Solomon fetched Gold.


Ophereth, in the Doctrine of Natural things, is referred to Wisdom, for a great Treasure of Wisdom lies hid here. And hither is referred the quotation Proverbs, c. 3, v. 19. The Lord in Wisdom hath founded the earth; I say, the Earth, concerning which Job speaks, c. 28, v. 6, which hath Dust of Gold. Where, take notice of the Word Ophereth, i.e., Lead. This Lead, by a Mystical Name is called Chol, because therein lies the System of the whole Universe. For its Figure has below a Circle, the Sign of Universal Perfection, and over the circle is a cross formed of four Daleths, whose Angles meet in one Point; so you may know, that all Quaternity lies here, and the Quaternions of Quaternity: whether you refer to the Elements, or Cortices, or Letters or Worlds.

And in this Lead of the Wise Men, four Elements lie hid, i.e., Fire, or the Sulphur of the Philosophers; Air, the Separator of the Waters; the dry Water; and the Earth of the Wonderful Salt.

There are also hid in it the four Cortices, described in Ezekiel, c. 1, v. 4, for in the Preparation of it there will occur to thee the Whirlwind, a great Cloud, and a Fire enfolding itself, and at length the desired Splendour breaks forth.

Also the Natural Sephira of the Tetragrammaton, and the Metal thereof, occurs to thee here. And you will naturally travel through four Worlds in the very Labour; when after the Faction and Formation, laborious enough, there will appear the wonderful creation: after which thou shalt have the Emanation of the desired Natura1 Light.

And note, that the word Chol, whose Number is 50, multiplied by 15, according to the Number of the Sacred Characteristic Name in the Sephira of Wisdom, will produce the Number of Ophereth, i.e., 750.

Also the Kamea of that Metal is also wonderful, in which the Number 15, viz., the Name Jah, i.e., a form of Jehovah, in a Magic Square of nine Squares (because we are in the ninth Sephira) throughout all its Columns, shows itself after this manner. 

                               4      9      2 

                               3      1      7 

                               8      5      6 

The Planet Shabthai denominated from "Rest," because in this Principle is offered the most desired Rest.

And if you shall compute the words Lahab Shabthai, i.e., the point or edge of Saturn, there will arise the Number of the Name Ophereth; viz., Lead.


Arjeh, a Lion, in Natural Science is variously applied.

"For there is Gur Arjeh, a Lion's Whelp;" as Jacob speaks, Genesis, c. 49, v. 9. That word Gur, a Whelp, Numbers 209, and if you add the whole Word in the place of a Unit, it will be 210, which is the Number of the word "Naaman the Syrian, the General of the Army of the King of Aram," 2 Kings, c. 5, v. 1, by whom is Allegorically to be understood the Matter of the Metallic Medicine, to be purified Seven times in Jordan, which many men, studious in Metallic Affairs, call Gur. 

2. And that thou mayest the better understand this Matter, take the Lesser Number of this word Naaman, which is 21, this is equal to the Number of the Name of Kether, which is Ehejeh, 21. 

3. The Number of Naaman, with the whole Word, is 211; to which another Name of the Lion is equal, Ari, 211. 

4. And so also Arjeh, a Lion is equal in Number to the first word of that wonderful History, 2 Kings, c. 5, v. 1. "And Naaman, etc." For this constitutes 216.

5. Moreover, the word Kephir, a young Lion, and Jerik, agree also in their Number; for each of them give 310. And now it is known in Metallic Mysteries, that at the very Entrance, we meet the AEnigma of the Lion of Green growth, which we call the Green Lion; which, I pray thee, do not think is so-called, from any other Cause but its Colour. For unless thy Matter shall be green, not only in that intermediate state before 'tis reduced into Water, and also after the Water of Gold is made of it, remember that this Universal Dry Process must be amended.

6. The other Names of Lions, are Lebi, which is a Lioness, according to Job, c. 4, v. 11. The Whelps of the Lioness shall separate themselves; Ezekiel, c. 19, v. 2. "Thy Mother being a Lioness lay amongst the Lions;" Nahum, c. 2, v. 12. "A Lioness is there"; v. 13, "The Lion did strangle them for his Lioness."

Also Lish, which denotes a fierce Lion, with long straight hair: as found in Proverbs, c. 30, v. 30. These two Names, in their Lesser Numbers each contain a Septenary, for Lebi numbers 43, which gives 7, and Lish 340, which gives 7 also. To these the Name Puk, Stibium is equal, whose Sum is 106, and its lesser Number is 7, than which nothing could be more plain. Especially if the Sirname of that Mineral be considered, when it is called the Hairy Servant, or he with long hair or Ruddy haired; with many like Names given to it.

7. There is yet another Name of a Lion according to the Masters of the Sanhedrim, in chapter 11, fol. 95, col. 1, i.e., Shachatz; which also the Targum uses; and Psalm 17, v. 12; its Number is 398, in its lesser Number it is 2. And the Chaldaic Word Tzadida shews the same lesser Number 2, being used in Targum, 2 Kings, c. 30, v. 30, Jeremiah, c. 4, v. 30, (instead of the Hebrew Word Puk, which is Antimony) for its sum is 109, which together with the whole Word, is 110, and its lesser Number 2.

8. At length also there, meets us the Name of the Black Lion, to wit, Shacal, whose Number is 338, and its lesser Number 5.

Now take the least Number of the word Naaman 210, which is 3, and the least Number of the Chaldaic word Parzel, Iron, which is 2, and you will have 5, the Black Lion.

9. Zahab, Gold, is called by the name Red Lion; and so not only the least Numbers of the Names Lebi and Lish make 14, which Number Zahab hath; but also the least Number of the word Zahab is 5, as I said but now to be equal to Shacal.

But under this Notion is to be understood Gold, either already Mortified, or now at length drawn from the Mines of the Wise Men,---Black in Colour, but Red in Potency. 


JARDEN, denotes a Mineral Water, useful in the cleansing of Metals, and Leprous MineraIs. But this Water flows from two sources, whereof one is called Jeor, i.e., a fluid, having the Nature of the Right Hand, and very Bountiful. The other is called Dan, Rigorous and of a sharp Nature.

But it flows through the Salt Sea, which ought to be observed, and at length is thought to be mixed with the Red Sea; which is a Sulphurous Matter, Masculine, and known to all true Artists.

But know thou, that the Name Zachu, i.e., Purity, being multiplied by 8, the Number of Yesod, produces the Number Seder, i.e., Order, which is 264. Which Number is also contained in the word Jarden; thus you may Remember, that at least Eight Orders of Purification are required, before the true Purity follows.


Yesod, in natural things, contains under itself Quicksilver; because this MetaI is the Foundation of the whole Art of Transmutation.

And as the Name of El, doth insinuate the Nature of Silver, because both belong to the Classis of Chesed, (but here to that Chesed, which is inferior, viz., Yesod). So the name of El Chai, is the same as it were, Cheseph Chai, i.e., Quicksilver.

And so Kokab, a Star, is the Name of the Planet, under whose Government this Matter is, with the whole Word is 49; which same is the Number of El Chai.

But remember that all Quicksilver doth not conduce to this Work, because the sorts of it differ even as Flax from Hemp or Silk, and you would work on Hemp to no purpose, to make it receive the Tenuity and Splendour of fine Flax.

And there are some that think it a sign of Legitimate Water, if being mixed with Gold, it presently ferments. But the common liquid Mercury, precipitated by Lead, performs this. And what will it do ?

Verily I tell thee, there is no other Sign of a true Mercury but this, that in a due heat it invests itself with a Cuticula which is the purest refined Gold; and that in a little space of time, yea, in one night.

This is that which, not without a Mystery, is called Kokab, a Star; because according, to the natural Kabalah, Numbers, c. 24, v. 17, out of (the Metal) Jacob comes a Star; or in Plain language the shapes of Rods, and Branches, arise; and from this Star flows this Influence, of which we speak.

This Argent Vivre, in the Gemara Tract Gittin, ch. 7, fol. 69, is called Espherica, i.e., Spherical Water, because it flows from the Mundane Sphere.

And in Genesis, c. 36, v. 39, it is called Mehetabel, as tho' it were Me' Hathbula, by changing the order of the Letters, i.e., the Waters of Immersion, because the King is immerged in them to be cleansed.

Or as tho' it were the El Hatob, by a like Change of Letters; the Waters of the good El, or of Living Silver; for Life and Good have equal power, as Death and Evil have the same.

This is called the Daughter of Metred, that is, (as the Targum teaches,) the Gold-maker, Labouring with daily Weariness.

For this Water flows not out of the Earth, nor is digged out of the Mine; but is produced and perfected with great Labour and much Diligence.

This Wife (or female) is also called Me Zahab, the Waters of Gold, or such a Water as sends forth GoId.

If the Artist be betrothed to her, he will beget a Daughter, who will be the Water of the Royal Bath. Although some would have this Bride to be the Waters that are made out of Gold; which Bride (notwithstanding) poor Men leave to be espoused by great Men.

The Husband of Mehetabel is that Edomite King, and King of Redness, who is called Hadar, Glorious; viz., the Beauty of the Metallic Kingdom, which is Gold, Daniel, c. 11, v. 20-29. But such Gold as may be referred to Tiferet. For Hadar represents 209, which Number also the Tetragrammaton, multiplied by 8, produces, (which is the Number of Circumcision and Yesod) if the whole Word be added as one.

But that thou mayest know, that Tiferet, of the degree of Geburah, is understood; know thou, that that Number being added to the whole, is also contained in Issac, which in like manner is of the Classis of Gold.

The City of that King is called Pegno, Brightness, from its Splendour, according to Deut., c. 33, v. 2. Which Name, and the Name Joseph, (by which Yesod is meant, have the same Number 156. That you may know that Argent vive is required to the Work; and that the Royal Beauty doth not reside out of this Splendid City.

To this place belongs another Surname, i.e., Elohim Chajim, as tho' it were called Living Gold; because Elohim and Gold denote the same Measure. But so this Water is called, because it is the Mother and Principle of Living Gold: For all other kinds of Gold are thought to be dead; this only excepted.

Nor will you err, if you shall attribute to it another special name, for it may be called Mekor Majim Chajim, that is, a Fountain of Living Water. For, from this Water the King is enlivened, that he may give Life to all Metals and Living Things.

The Kamea of this Water is altogether wonderful, and exhibits in like manner the Number Chai (i.e. Living) 18 times, the same Sum in a Magic Square of 64 Squares, which is the Sum of Mezahab, Waters of Gold; being variable, after this manner, to infinity.

                    8   58   59    5    4   62   63    1

                   49   15   14   52   53   11   10   56

                   41   23   22   44   45   19   18   48

                   32   34   35   29   28   38   39   25

                   40   26   27   37   36   30   31   33

                   17   47   46   20   21   43   42   24

                    9   55   54   12   13   51   50   16

                   64    2    3   61   60    6    7   57 

Here you have the Sum 260, from the bottom to the top, from the nght hand to the left, and by the Diagonal; the lesser Number of 260 is 8, the Number of Yesod; as also the Root of the whole Square is 8.

The Symbol of the first Sum is 260, which makes the word Sar, i.e., "he went back," because in going forward the Sum always goes backward through the units.

For Example, if you begin with 2, reckoning the first Column for 8 the Sum will be 268, which is resolved in 7.

If you begin with the 3 (reckoning 8 for the second Column) the Sum will be 276, which resolves into 6. And so of the rest. And so also the number of Purifications increasing, the Weight of thy Water decreases. 


JUNEH, a Dove; amongst the AEnigmas of Natural things, the Name of a Dove is never applied to the Metals themselves, but to the Ministering and Preparing forms of Nature.

He that understands here the Nature of the Burnt Offering will not take Turtles, but two young male Pigeons, or Sons of the Dove, Leviticus, c. 1, v. 14, and C. 12, V. 8, and c. 14, v. 22.

But count the word Beni 62, and 2 for a Pair of Doves, and thence is the number 64 of the word Nogah, which is the Name of the 5th amongst the Planets, and you shall go the true way. Else "labour not to be Rich; Cease from thy own Wisdom:" Wilt thou cause thine eyes presently to discern it? That will not be: But the Scholar of the Wise Men maketh to himself Wings, and flieth as an Eagle, even as he doth the Minerals of the Stars to heaven. Prov., c. 23, v. 4, 5.

Jarach, the Moon or Luna in the History of Natural Things is called the "Medicine for the White," because she hath received a Whitening Splendour from the Sun, which by a like shining, illuminates and converts to her own Nature all the Earth, that is the impure Metals.

And the place of Isaiah, c. 30, v. 26, "the moon shall be as the Sun," may be mystically understood of this, because the Work being finished, she hath a solar Splendour; but in this State, the place of Canticles, c. 6, v. 10, belongs to her,---" fair as the Moon."

By the same Name the Matter of the Work is called: and so indeed it is like to the crescent Moon, in the first State of Consistence; and like to the Full Moon in the last State of Fluidity and Purity. For the words Jarach, the Moon, and Razia, Secrets, also Rabui, a Multitude, have by Gematria the same Numbers, because in this Matter are found the Secrets of Multiplication.

Gophrith is Sulphur; in the Science of Minerals this Principle is referred to Binah, to the left because of its Colour; and to left also, Gold is wont to be referred; and Charutz, a kind of Gold, is also referred to Binah, and being 7 in its lesser Number agrees with that of Gophritha.

Therefore the Gold of Natural Wisdom ought to be Charutz; that is digged out, or the like not excocted. And this is that Sulphur, which hath a fiery Colour, and is penetrating and changing to impure Earths; to wit, Sulphur with Salt, Deut., c. 29, v. 23. Sulphur with Fire, rained down upon the Wicked,---that is the impure Metals, Psalm 106, v. 6.

You must dig up this Sulphur; and it is to be digged out of the Water, that you mayest have Fire obtained from Water. "And if your Ways be right before the Lord, your Iron shall swim upon the Water," 2 Kings, c. 6, v. 6. "Go thy way then to the River Jordan with Elisha"; see v. 4. "But who shall declare the Geburah of the Lord?" Psalm 106, v. 2.

Many seek other Sulphurs, and he that hath entered the "House of the Paths" shall understand them, Proverbs, c. 8, v. 2. For the Sulphurs of Gold and Iron, the Extraction whereof is taught by many, and is easy; also of Gold, Iron and Brass; also of Gold, Iron, Copper and Antimony, which are gathered together after Fulmination by Vinegar, out of the lixivium, which are changed into a Red Oil, with a moist Hydrargyrum,---do tinge Silver. For from Proverbs, c. 21, v. 20, we know there is a Treasure to be desired and also an Oil to be found in the dwelling of a Man of Wisdom.