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Alchemical Emblems Project
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Introduction  Resources   Studying emblems  Supporting the work
There are many languages used by alchemy - the language of substances and the practical operations in flasks; the language of philosophical and cosmological ideas; the language of allegories; and language of emblematic symbolism, among others.

I am devoting much of my time now to trying to enthuse people to explore with me this symbolic language of alchemical transformation. I have spend many years researching and discovering these emblems in early printed books and manuscripts. Many of the emblems I have been researching are entirely unknown to people.

Sadly there is very little interest in this material, despite my trying to bring these incredibly beautiful, enigmatic and powerful images to people's attention. Most people seem to rely on the few selected images in popular books, which often give an uninformed and misleading commentary to the symbolism of the emblems. The writers of these books have not seen the mass of material which I have been able to explore, so their views are entirely limited, uninformed and more than often completely wrong. Locked up in these emblems is a language of alchemy that is awaiting for people to explore.

The only way people can come to appreciate alchemical symbolism is for them to study all the material of the tradition. Merely selecting out a few items that appeal to them aesthetically will not lead them to a true encounter with this symbolic material. Of course it is difficult for the modern eye, educated by television and the constant bombardment of sophisticated imagery in magazines and books, to appreciate and read the clumsy lines of a woodcut or the tangles of hatching in an engraving. To make these images more approachable today, I have been making coloured versions of emblems for many years, but have accelerated this work recently and now have made over 830 (as of August 2004). Thus I have created a resource of alchemical imagery that has never been seen before, which will be found essential for anyone wishing to understand the richness of this entirely neglected ocean of symbolism. Thumbnails of these images are provided on the alchemy web site in my Galleries of Emblems and you will find these have migrated out onto other peoples websites all over the internet. I have now made these available in high quality images on a series of three CD-Roms.

In August 2004 I decided to set up this Alchemical Emblems Project in order to try and get people to explore this imagery and discover the profundity of its symbolic language.

This project can provide a number of ways in which people can learn about these emblems, or assist with the ongoing research. You can follow these up over the next few pages.
Introduction  Resources   Studying emblems  Supporting the work

Study Courses

Alchemical, astrological and
emblematic art prints

Alchemy and art

Art books Series

Study course on Bosch's
Garden of Earthly Delights

New Hieronymus Bosch Website