Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae



More alchemical business which should be familiar to anyone who’s cracked open an occult history or two. Familiar as these illustrations often are, it’s only recently that we’ve been able to scrutinise their mysteries in detail thanks to the services of various libraries and online archives. These plates are from Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae (1609) by Heinrich Khunrath, and the Laboratorium is often reproduced as a rather grand example of the alchemist’s workplace. As for the picture below, it’s a shame it didn’t turn up a few years ago when Jay Babcock asked me if I had a decent copy of the illustration for an Arthur magazine article. All I had was a tiny reproduction so I think the piece ran without the picture in the end. The ETH Bibliothek has further illustrations from this volume including a portrait of Meister Khunrath and his pet hound.

Another tip via the BibliOdyssey Twitter feed.


Designatio Pyramidum.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The etching and engraving archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Cabala, Speculum Artis Et Naturae In Alchymia
Digital alchemy

Weekend links 48


Nite Flights (1978) by The Walker Brothers. Cover design by Hipgnosis.

something attacked the earth last nite
with a kick that man habit-eye
cut the sleep tight boys who dreamed and dreamed
of a city like the sky

Scott Walker quotes Brion Gysin (and who knows what else) in Shutout (see below), one of the four remarkable songs he wrote for the final Walker Brothers album, Nite Flights. That album cast a shadow over David Bowie’s Lodger a year later, and led Bowie to try his hand at a cover of the title track in 1993.

• Frédéric Chaubin’s photographs of what he calls Cosmic Communist Constructions. Also a new book from Taschen, and an exhibition at the Karlsruhe Museum of Contemporary Art. PingMag interviewed Chaubin back in 2006.


From Disparate works by Romanian artist Marcel Chirnoaga (1930–2008). See also the Virtual Museum of Marcel Chirnoaga.

The immense size of modern databases gives us a feeling of meaninglessness. Information in such quantities reminds us of Borges’s library extending infinitely in all directions. It is our task as humans to bring meaning back into this wasteland.

Freeman Dyson on The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick.

• In the Tumblr labyrinth this week: Mr Rossignol, the Elephant House for Edward Gorey, and Brion Gysin.

• Related to the last, Mutate or Die is “a bioart project being conceived of and executed by Tony Allard and Adam Zaretsky”.

• Barry Miles’s top 10 counterculture books. Related: Rick Poynor on Richard Neville’s Playpower.

“The sooner literary fiction recognises & accepts its generic identity, the sooner it can get help.”

• Is YouTube user “Kosinski” the ever-elusive Chris Marker? “All signs point to yes.”

• The Internet Archive is making its books available to US libraries.

• The Castle of Shadows at BLDGBLOG.

• The Light Painting Pool at Flickr.

• Scott Walker (with the Walker Brothers): Shutout |Nite Flights | The Electrician.

The recurrent pose 40


Another addition to the burgeoning archive of you-know-what, the Flandrin pose on this occasion being by Egon from JKK Fine Arts. He also sent details of some new photobooks, the image below being an example from The Blue Book. There’s also Narcissus and Homage to Egon Schiele. Thanks Egon!


Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The recurrent pose archive

Pascal Sébah


Studio portrait of models wearing traditional clothing from the provinces of Hedjaz (Hejaz), Yemen and Tripoli, Ottoman Empire (1873).

Photo prints by Turkish photographer Pascal Sébah (1823–1886) at the Library of Congress. I always like to see photos of ruins in the wild, so to speak, as they generally were in the 19th century before the imperatives of archaeology and mass tourism had cleaned, restored and reduced everything to the status of a museum exhibit or (in the case of the temple below) a shopping opportunity. There’s more of Pascal Sébah’s work at Wikimedia Commons.


Kôm Ombo (Sud Est) (The ruins of the Temple of Sobek and Haroeris at Ombos, Egypt, between 1860 and 1886).


Colosses de Memnon à Thèbes (between 1860 and 1890).

Previously on { feuilleton }
Alhambra cyanotypes
Constantinople, 1900
Edinburgh, 1929
Old Bunker Hill
Inondations 1910
Berenice Abbott
Eugene de Salignac
Luther Gerlach’s Los Angeles
The temples of Angkor
The Bradbury Building: Looking Backward from the Future
Edward Steichen
Karel Plicka’s views of Prague
Atget’s Paris
Downtown LA by Ansel Adams

Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #9


The Ludwig Habich building, Darmstadt.

Continuing the delve into back numbers of Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration, the German periodical of art and decoration. Volume 9 covers the period from October 1901–March 1902. This edition continues the examination of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony begun in the previous number. Despite the colony being very much an Art Nouveau venture the pictorial content is largely photographic, with many views of the show-homes built by the colony artists. Much of the other content is a disappointment compared to what’s gone before, the featured painters being the conservative types who were crowding Jugend magazine at this period with generic depictions of stolid German farmers. Unlike Jugend, however, this isn’t the end of the line. As usual, anyone wishing to see these samples in greater detail, or the rest of the edition, is advised to download the entire volume at the Internet Archive. There’ll be more DK&D next week.


Continue reading “Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration #9”