Splendor Solis

Splendor Solis Black Sun, f. 30v

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Black Sun, f. 30v

A large black sun sets behind a vast landscape in shades of dark green. All that can be seen above the horizon is a slim segment of the black celestial body and its long golden rays. Yet the earth seems to be illumined from within by the animate sun with its eyes and nose standing out amid the pastel-like, lightened background. As the related passage of the text conveys, this picture illustrates the operation of solution or putrefaction which is also symbolised in alchemy by the colour black. The miniature of the black sun was painted after an illustration from the Rosarium Philosophorum which depicted dissolution as a sun going down in an artificial basin.

Jörg Völlnagel 
(Art historian, research associate at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin)


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