The Royal Аrt: Coat of Arms as Religious and Political Allegories in Alchemical Treatise “Book of the Holy Trinity”
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The Royal Аrt: Coat of Arms as Religious and Political Allegories in Alchemical Treatise “Book of the Holy Trinity”
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Sergei Zotov 
Affiliation: Russian State University for the Humanities
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
The article is devoted to analysis of symbolic pictures and coat of arms, which are found in the iconography of medieval alchemical treatises in the XV century. A visual analogy between Christ's resurrection and the Philosopher's Stone, a comparison of the crucifixion with the coat of arms of the Holy Roman Empire became important parts of allegorical images of the famous alchemical treatise “Book of the Holy Trinity”. Many researchers have linked this iconographical turn with the papal bull against the alchemists made by Pope John XXII in 1317. According to the document, alchemists could be punished for the extraction of fake gold using philosopher's stone. Perhaps this very bull was the impetus for iconographical and textual mixing of alchemical and Christian paradigms. Using of imperial heraldry could be done to praise the ruler. For iconographic expression of this idea author, frater Ulmann, who was German and Franciscan monk, depicted Jesus literally growing out of the Holy Roman Empire arms. Ulmann has mixed the coat of arms and the image of Christ for the first time in the context of medieval European iconography. There are another coat of arms in the treatise: one of them holds so-called wilde Frau, another represents the shield of the Trinity (coat of arms of God). On the other image, which presumably is also the coat of arms, Virgin Mary, surrounded by mandorla, prays at the crucifixion of Jesus in the shape of fleur de lis. Alchemist called this heraldic flower “the lily of seven virtues”: its petals were compared with the seven metals, planets and the wounds of Christ. Blooming Cross could mean the proximity of the Resurrection of Jesus, and in the alchemical sense - the transformation of “dead” metals into philosopher's stone. It is obvious that these alchemical arms helped the author to link firmly three contexts: religious, political, and alchemical. Thus, the author not only cleared himself of suspicion of heresy, but also legitimized alchemy as a serious science that was directly related to the politics and religion.
Middle Ages, Germany, alchemy, forgers, heraldry, iconography
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