Sixteenth Century Floor
Rosarium philosophorum Room
Possible sources for Rosarium images Side Gallery

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There is one definite source for some of the Rosarium images, the Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit manuscript of around 1410. This has three images from the Rosarium and predates it by 140 years. The second, less certain source, is another German work, the Hartung vom Hoff manuscript dated just one year before the appearance of the Rosarium.

Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit manuscript.
This has the two images of the hermaphrodites (emblems 10 and 17) and the figure of the Virgin, with Christ and the Father (emblem 19).

Emblem 10

Emblem 17

Emblem 19

Hartung vom Hoff manuscript
The manuscript 8° Chem 32, entitled Das Kunstbüchlein, in the Murhardsche Bibliotek in Kassel in Germany, is dated 1549, a year before the Rosarium philosophorum book was published. This 'little book of the art' [of alchemy] which was written by Caspar Hartung vom Hoff, contains 25 sketchy line drawings. Twelve of these show imagery which appeared in the woodcuts of the Rosarium. One cannot be entirely sure which came first as the Rosarium could have been written and illustrated a few years before 1550, and Hartung vom Hoff had access to it then. It could also be that there was some other manuscript with the Rosarium images which predated both of these works. More research needs to be done to clear up this problem. Here below are the twelve images from the manuscript which correspond to the Rosarium images. The particular Rosarium woodcut image is here noted below each of the drawings.

Emblem 10

Emblem 7

Emblem 12

Emblem 13

Emblem 14

Emblem 15

Emblem 16

Emblem 6

The following four are not so clearly associated with a Rosarium image, but they have compoents that echo the symbolism.

Emblem 17

Emblem 10

Emblem 17

Emblem 2

An earlier Rosarium Philosophorum

There is a work dating to the 14th century entitled the Rosaire usually attributed to Arnauld de Villeneuve. Though this does not have the same text and is a different work, it bears a similar title and the author of the Rosarium Philosophorum may have drawn on this work. Opposite is the earliest manuscript copy of the Rosaire now in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Turin.