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A stamped and numbered archival pigment print on Somerset Satin 330gsm paper, available in 2 sizes.
Based on an original watercolour illustration from Splendor Solis ('The Splendour of the Sun'), a German alchemical manual dating from around 1582.
The original of Splendor Solis, which contained seven chapters, appeared in Augsburg. The author of the manuscript was considered to be the legendary Salomon Trismosin, allegedly the teacher of Paracelsus, though the name is believed to be a pseudonym. The work consists of a sequence of 22 elaborate images, set in ornamental borders and niches. 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 then-known 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. Although the style of the Splendor Solis illuminations suggest an earlier date, they are clearly of the 16th century.
In alchemical tradition the black sun is used to represent the dissolution of the body and the transformation of the soul.
"The body must be dissolved in the subtlest middle air: The body is also dissolved by its own heat and humidity; where the soul, the middle nature holds the principality in the colour of blackness all in the glass: which blackness of Nature the ancient Philosophers called the crows head, or the black sun.
— Marsilius Ficinus, "Liber de Arte Chemica"
This is one of a series of celestial images Stephen Ellcock has released as archival limited editions of 250 copies. Each copy comes with a signed and stamped certificate of authenticity.