Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I managed to get a copy of this interesting article. It will take me a while to read through Telle's dense and very informative text. Joachim Telle is, of course, one of the major scholars of alchemy and he is extremely thorough in his research so this article is a great mine of information.
He looks at the history of the Splendor solis and its context. He also follows up its influence through the centuries up to the present day. Thus it is divided into the following sections.
The Splendor solis and the alchemical symbol tradition
The Splendor solis and alchemical Florilegium tradition (the compiling of texts and quotations from earlier authors)
The Splendor solis as a textbook of late-medieval transmutatory alchemy
The Splendor solis and Paracelsian alchemy of 16th century
The Splendor solis and Salomon Trismosin
The Splendor solis in the baroque
The Splendor solis in the 18th century and up to the present day.
When I get time to read the whole article I will post up any interesting bits of research I discover.
As always one finds interesting things in the footnotes ! I noticed a book Telle refers to by the art historian Ulrichs Merkl on Book painting in Bavaria in the first half of the 16th century (which is is German) which does have a page or two on the Splendor Solis.
Last edited on Thu Oct 9th, 2008 09:05 am by adammclean
I noticed a book Telle refers to by the art historian Ulrichs Merkl on Book painting in Bavaria in the first half of the 16th century (which is is German) which does have a page or two on the Splendor Solis.
Telle's article is based mostly on the text. He sees this as a stylised compilation of earlier writers, a Florilegium, and identifies many of the original writers, extracts of whom are woven into the text. He explores the possibility of the authorship or original compiler. This has been associated by some scholars with Ulrich Poysel, who is identified without any evidence with a priest living at the Ducal-Bavarian court who died in 1471. Poysel, it turns out is a figure from the latter part of the 16th century.
Telle next turns his attention to the attempt to contextualise the work within Paracelsianism through its association with the supposed figure of Salomon Trismosin, in the first printed edition that appeared in the Aureum vellus (tract 3) at Rorschach in 1599. This book propelled the Splendor solis (which up to that time had only existed in a few manuscripts) to fame and international interest. Trismosin was said to be the teacher of Paracelsus and in bringing the work within the sphere of Paracelsianism, lead to it influencing a wide circle of alchemical writers during the 17th century. Telle documents many of these, and also show how interest in this work continued into the 18th century.
He then shows its rediscovery in modern times by the Golden Dawn group, quoting from W.B. Yates Rosa Alchemica, and mentioning the interest of MacGregor Mathers and the publication by Julius Kohn. Telle regrets the lack of a critical edition, though the text is now available in many European languages. I think he is a bit amused by the use of the Splendor solis in some modern novels by Szepes, R.P. Guillot, E. Barbu Umberto Eco and M Walser.