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Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature. The Message of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes in the visual language of the 17th century

Posted on by The Ritman Library

EXHIBITION

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.

Fludd

Robert Fludd

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.

Exhibition Divine Wisdom - Divine Nature, in Calw, Germany

Exhibition Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature, in Calw, Germany

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.

Photos of the making of the exhibition 

Photos of the opening of the exhibition

PUBLICATION

DIVINE WISDOM – DIVINE NATURE / GÖTTLICHE WEISHEIT – GÖTTLICHE NATUR
The Message of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes in the Visual Language of the Seventeenth Century.

Divine Wisdom - Divine Nature, Göttliche Weisheit - Göttliche Natur

Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature / Göttliche Weisheit – Göttliche Natur

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.

Read the preface ‘To the reader who understands wisdom’ written by director Esther Ritman

Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature – ENGLISH

 

 

 

Göttliche Weisheit – Göttliche Natur – GERMAN

 

 

 

4 Responses to Divine Wisdom – Divine Nature. The Message of the Rosicrucian Manifestoes in the visual language of the 17th century

  1. Michal Pober says:

    I would very much like to attend the event that is to take place in Calw in September.
    Alas, as I’m certain you are already well aware, our Museum in Kutná Hora came to a sad end because of some very personal individual catastrophes that affected either or both me and my life-partner, Vlad’ka, from which we have had no real opportunity to recover, while at the same time some of our other very significant family members, both here and abroad were undergoing personal experiences of death and loss that also played havoc with their lives and that of course added to our worries.
    Even though we have had almost no “wiggle-room” we have managed to survive, however, including taking care of and feeding our joint total of 3 dogs and 4 cats.
    Anyway, to cut to the quick, my concept is to come to Calw to provide you with whatever assistance I am able to (here I must also admit that my knowledge of German is zero and my physical strength is diminished by a heart problem which is monitored 24/24 by a gizmo that is implanted in my left shoulder area). I cope with daily life, however, and much more, including getting out-and-about and taking the dogs for long daily walks – though that has been somewhat circumscribed this summer because of the colossal heatwave that started early and that seems destined to last through the whole summer.
    Of course it is partly for these reasons that I would like to both get a break while doing as many useful things as I can to assist you in your project while, at the same time, hopefully obtaining some fresh, new and both interesting and exciting insights into Alchemy.
    Perhaps – though I certainly am hoping that it isn’t – my whole concept is absurdly optimistic and there are a few home details
    that I will need to ensure get taken care of if I’m gone but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
    Please be assured that if this all strikes you as completely absurd I shall not take it amiss. I’ve had to accept – and transmute – so many strange, difficult, frightening events on one hand and to accept and celebrate so many extraordinary and seren-dipitous and joyous happenings on the other hand that I feel as if I’ve already lived two full lives already.
    If your answer is YES I shall be thrilled and will do my utmost to be an asset in every way that I can. If your answer is NO I shall accept it and will not cry myself to sleep for even one night.

  2. Cis van Heertum Cis van Heertum says:

    Dear Michal Pober,

    We are very sorry not to have responded before now – your message escaped us as we were, indeed, very busy preparing for the exhibition in Calw. We are also very sorry to hear about the closure of the museum in Kutná Hora, it’s a loss for the international hermetic community. We are very grateful for your offer of help, much appreciated, but everything’s ready now for the exhibition, which we hope you may be able to simply travel over to enjoy. Should you miss it in September, there will be opportunities in the next few years as the exhibition is set to travel to various places in Europe. We do hope this message finds you well and thank you again for your offer of support.

    With best wishes, on behalf of the Ritman Library Team,

    Cis van Heertum

  3. Mario Diacono says:

    I would like to know when and where this exhibition will open next.
    Thank you,
    Mario Diacono

  4. Dear Publishers,
    we would like to review Your recently published book “Göttliche Weisheit – Göttliche Natur” (German version) in next number of our journal GNOSTIKA. So, may we ask for some review copy?
    A voucher copy will reach You after publication.
    Many thanks in advance!

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