A Selection of 20 Books and Manuscripts on the Art of Alchemy

A Selection of 20 Books and Manuscripts on the Art of Alchemy

"Long shrouded in secrecy, alchemy is now recognized as the ancestor of modern chemistry. Alchemists were notorious for attempting to make synthetic gold, but their goals were far more ambitious: to transform and bend nature to the will of an industrious human imagination. For scientists, philosophers, and artists alike, alchemy seemed to hold the key to unlocking the secrets of creation. Alchemists’ efforts to discover the way the world is made have had an enduring impact on artistic practice and expression around the globe. Inventions born from alchemical laboratories include metal alloys for sculpture and ornament, oil paints, effects in glassmaking, and even the chemical baths of photography. The mysterious art of alchemy transformed visual culture from antiquity to the Industrial Age, and its legacy still permeates the world we make today."

— David Brafman, Rare Books Curator, Getty Research Institute

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