Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature. The Message of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes in the visual language of the 17th centuryJuly 11, 2014
This travelling anniversary exhibition of the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica to celebrate the fourth centenary of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes examines the visual imagery that can be associated with the Rosicrucian movement. Never before was such complex imagery used to explore the relationship between God, Nature and Man. In this anniversary year, 400 years after the publication of the Fama Fraternitatis, the BPH once more returns to the sources to investigate the Rosicrucian phenomenon that is both characteristic of the atmosphere of expectancy in the early 17th century (‘Europe is pregnant and about to bear a powerful child’) and typical of the continued appreciation of the Hermetic tradition.
In the early seventeenth century, an extraordinary series of engravings appeared in Germany. They were included in the works of five separate authors: Heinrich Khunrath, Daniel Mögling, Stephan Michelspacher, Robert Fludd and Michael Maier. Most of the images were engraved by a single artist, the celebrated Matthäus Merian the Elder. What unites all of them is a shared world picture, one which celebrates the macrocosm, the microcosm and the bond between the two, a bond forged by the divine creator. This world picture, which is essentially Christian-Hermetic in outlook, is one which also inspired the Rosicrucian Manifestoes that were published in the years 1614-1616, beginning with the Fama Fraternitatis. It is perhaps a coincidence that four of the works came out after the publication of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes, but what is certain is that Mögling’s splendidly illustrated Speculum Sophicum Rhodo-Stauroticum (1618) is also known as the ‘fourth Rosicrucian Manifesto’. Three of the authors, Fludd, Maier and Michelspacher, were also advocates of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, while the only work to be published before 1614-1616, Khunrath’s Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae, relies on a shared set of symbols and meanings.
The BPH has a strong history of organizing exhibitions on the Rosicrucian theme. In 1995 the BPH organized together with the Herzog-August-Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel the exhibition Cimelia Rhodostaurotica, followed in 1998 by the exhibition De Roep van het Rozenkruis. Vier Eeuwen Levende Traditie, which was organized with the Lectorium Rosicrucianum and the Royal Library in The Hague. The anniversary exhibition in Calw is also conceived as the third and final part of a set of exhibitions previously organized by the BPH in Florence in 1999 (Marsilio Ficino and the Return of Hermes Trismegistus) and in Venice in 2002 (Magic, Alchemy and Science 15th-18th centuries). The Florence exhibition celebrated the rediscovery of the Hermetic sources in the West, ending with Paracelsus, the ‘Trismegistus Germanus’ as he was also known; the Venice exhibition highlighted the influence of Hermetic thought in Western Europe, ending with the publication of the Geheime Figuren der Rosenkreuzer.
DIVINE WISDOM – DIVINE NATURE / GÖTTLICHE WEISHEIT – GÖTTLICHE NATUR
The Message of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes in the Visual Language of the Seventeenth Century.
This lavishly illustrated work, published on the occasion of the fourth centenary of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes in 2014-2016, focusses on an extraordinary range of images which appeared in Germany in the early 17th century.
The illustrations partly originated in a circle of artists and thinkers who were directly inspired by the Rosicrucian Manifestoes and also by similar sources expressing the relationship between God and Nature, the macrocosm and the microcosm.
The images were included in the works of several authors: Heinrich Khunrath, Daniel Mögling, Stephan Michelspacher, Robert Fludd and Michael Maier. The books themselves were published in various cities in Germany: Hanau, Frankfurt, Augsburg and Oppenheim. It is probably no coincidence that the majority of the works came out in the years 1616-1618, after the publication of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes.
Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature opens with a general introductory part on the people behind the Rosicrucian Manifestoes and continues with a discussion of the images in the works of these five authors, at least four of whom claimed allegiance to the ideals and aspirations of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood.
Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature – ENGLISH
Göttliche Weisheit – Göttliche Natur – GERMAN