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Splendor Solis, by Laura Lipton

Splendor Solis (The Splendor of the Sun) is an illuminated alchemical text attributed to Salomon Trismosin, a pseudonymous author, who in his connotations indicate that Splendor Solis belongs to the hermetic discourse, and also, thereby, enforces its authority and social standing. For the name alludes to King Solomon, who was the wisest of all the sages.

It was considered one of the most beautiful alchemical treatises ever produced. The earliest version, written in Central German, is dated 15321535. Since then many other versions have been published. The original of Splendor Solis, which contained 7 chapters, with a sequence of 22 elaborate images, set in ornamental borders and niches. The 7 treatises more or less stand independent of each other. They all discuss the making of the Philosopher's Stone and the beneficent uses to which it can be put. We could perhaps regard the seven treatises as variations on this theme.

The symbolic process shows the classical alchemical death and rebirth of the king, and incorporates a series of seven flasks, each associated with one of the nine planets. Within the flasks, a process is shown involving the transformation of bird and animal symbols into the Queen and King, the white and the red tincture.

 

Here is a picture of the earliest version in the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin:

Kupferstichkabinett Berlin

Following are two beautiful versions, one historical and one modern.

In the left column below is of the 1582 publication and is housed in the British Library, London, England. A description of each image can be found if you click on the images on that webpage.

In the right column below is a beautiful modern rendition by Laura Lipton, probably done in the 1990's. Her website is here. The images are very colorful and highly detailed.

If you want to read the text of Splendor Solis go this PDF file.

 

1582 Splendor Solis

Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis
1582 Splendor Solis Laura Lipton Splendor Solis