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The Golden Game: Alchemical Engravings of the Seventeenth Century (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 16. Februar 1998

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Alchemy, the quest for the Philosopher's Stone, has been an "alternative" strand in the development European culture since antiquity. By the 17th century, the complex pictorial language of symbols which encoded its theories and secrets had reached a highpoint of elaboration and sophistication. With the spread of printing, the iconography of alchemy began to flower as never before. This text presents a selection of alchemical illustrations reproduced from originals contained in obscure works from the shelves of research libraries around the world. The author (son of the artist Balthus), investigates the origins of this visual tradition, interprets the symbols and provides information on the authors, publishers, patrons and engravers of these "hermetick emblems" and "hieroglyphicall figures".


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Amazon.com: 9 Rezensionen
25 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Wonderful reference! 29. September 2000
Von Bat-Radish - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
As outside, so within, one might say. The construction of the book itself is sturdy and handsome, and no doubt able to deal with the occasional spilled alembic. Me, I got some coffee on it. It still looks good. Excellent qualifications for home-library fare.
But the *contents*. Good heavens. I was expecting page after page of illustrations with small-text captions. I bought it with an eye toward obscure imagery; I got it, but as an unexpected bonus there is a *wealth* of material explaining what it all means, and the sources, and the authors in whose works it appeared originally, and relevant snippets therefrom. Glorious! In addition to the images (and there are a great many, scrupulously reproduced and diverse, never fear) there is supplemental text on the history of the imagery and--among other things--why the 'hieroglyphics' of alchemy had such appeal to for alchemists and for the world of these illustrations' time. There are woodcuts, ink drawings, engravings and a few other media for the plates themselves. All look clear, or at least true to the original artist's shortcomings. Kings, queens, lions, baths, ovens, snakes, eggs, phoenixes and the like abound. That's not all, certainly: be assured that there are also rarer devices included. If I had it on my lap at the moment, I could blow the rest of my available space here with them. You will be satisfied with the breadth of the material, I'm certain.
It's *such* a good book to have. It stimulates both eyes and brain. Artists will draw inspiration from it, and the more scholarly folks will find it a gracious and sage read. I got it both ways. Lucky me.
14 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Remarkable Collection 9. August 2001
Von David Brehmer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This volume is easily the most complete and well organized collection of Alchemical images ever published. The author begins with an incredibly insightful explanation and history of both the origin and meaning of hieroglyphics, and concisely explicates how these engravings are a natural intellectual evolution of the original Egyptian concept of pictorial language, one much more adept for conveying immense knowledge than written verse. And he does not rely solely on his own voice for this: crucial passages from the most relevant philosophers and scholars throughout history punctuate his discourse frequently to give the reader the most thorough explanation possible. He then trails into a brief history of how these collections first became available from a few dedicated publishers until they blossomed into a popular Hermetic movement, one that was responsible for the majority of the images contained within this book. Curiously, he ends his introduction with an incredibly cryptic passage on the Quest for the Philosopher�s Stone, rife with innuendo and subtle symbolism, an allusion which I am not fortunate enough to decipher.
The images themselves are presented chronologically, showing the original Latin, German, etc., prefaces with English translations immediately below. A short biography of both the author and circumstances surrounding the publication of their respective work is also listed faithfully, followed by the plates themselves in consecutive original order. At least a paragraph explaining the most obvious of the plate�s symbolism provided in the form of footnotes is given as well. There is no detail that escapes the author�s eye, and he specifically tells how they relate to Alchemical process, once again adding commentary from other learned minds where relevant. It is obvious that this was an intense labor on Mr. DeRola�s part, a product of many years spent honing an incredible grasp of the craft which he has so competently brought to us.
What is also obvious from the author�s elusive admission is that Alchemy is not solely a process for the transmutation of metals so much as it is a purification of one�s soul. This book is not an end all definitive manual for such things. Despite the author�s profound understanding of this philosophy, he does not eagerly impart unto us the deeper meaning of alchemy. He remains quite prudent, but not selfish; within the text he gives many clues about how to penetrate the surface of this transcendentalism. You�ll find many references such as �One would be wise to pay close attention to this part of the frame�, or �The learned man should look past the obvious theme of this symbol�. In essence, this work will provide the most comprehensive reference of Alchemical engravings available short of an expensive trip to Europe�s most hallowed libraries. On a deeper level, Mr. DeRola lends a wise hand that may guide the more intuitive mind past tired folklore and into the realm that the most proficient Hermetic intellects strove to inhabit. An indispensable work, invaluably resourceful and seamlessly crafted.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An amazing treasure-house of Alchemical illustrations!!! 30. März 2012
Von Walter Five - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
It must have been about 10 years ago, a book dealer of my accquaintance mailed me his newest catalogue, and hand wrote a note-- just got a copy "The Golden Game" too late to include, thought you'd want it if you hadn't gotten it already... well I hadn't, and so I ordered it immediately, and WOW. 10 years later, this book still has a proud place in my library, and I pull it out at least once or twice a month to page through it.

The previous reviewers are all correct-- this is an *amazing* collection of illustrations and engravings of 17th Century Alchemical books! The authors explanations and translations of the material are informative, and my accquaintance was right-- I DID want it, and I didn't even know it at the time. It is simply the most incredible collection of this material that I have ever seen! I highly reccomend this book for anyone interested in Alchemy, Ceremonial Magick, Grimiores, and 17th Century European history.

I must say I'm a little shocked at the sticker prices I'm seeing for this book-- I see my Thames & Hudson hardback has more than quadrupled in price, and the *paperback* is even higher?

A thinner companion volume from the same author has a number of color illustrations (many very rare!) and is also good and informative: Alchemy: The Secret Art. It is also a LOT more affordable. Buy that one if, like me, you're choking a bit on the prices being asked for this volume, you'll be quite happy with it until "The Golden Game" comes back in print, or you can locate a more inexpensive edition.
10 von 13 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Important Alchemical Compilation 24. März 2001
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
If you are interested in alchemical iconography this book will not disappoint. Ninety-nine percent of the book contains reproductions of engravings from alchemical works published in the 17th century. Also they are not the teeny-tiny pictures you find in a lot of other books on the subject.
The softcover edition (Thames & Hudson) is printed in Slovenia on glossy paper. The hardcover editions (Thames & Hudson/George Braziller) are both printed in the German Democratic Republic on what appears to be acid-free cream-colored paper.
The reproductions look slightly better in the softcover edition printed in Slovenia. Perhaps because the glossy paper provides a higher contrast. Or it could be that it was just printed better. (I think the German Democratic Republic in 1988 could have been the former East Germany.)
The George Braziller hardcover just slightly edges out the Thames & Hudson hardcover. Although some people might say the quality of the reproductions look the same.
None of the reproductions (which are probably photolithography) can compare to the original metal plates. Just look at the detail in any 100 to 200 year old book and you will see what I'm talking about.
Be that as it may I highly recommend this book. This is an important compilation of Alchemical art. Normally you would have to purchase many books to acquire what is contained in this one. Buy it before its gone; before you have to purchase a beat-up used copy, or an expensive out-of-print hardcover.
5 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A wonderfull set of images! Translations are very simple. 24. Juli 2002
Von "highinbc" - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book is basicly the biography of many alchemist's from that period. Each alchemist featured starts with a brief bio of him and then the images of his engravings. After that is translations of the latin on the engravins and an inerpretation.
However, I must warn you that the translations from latin are very simple, they will say 'cook' when the word means 'cook by boiling down'. It is best to check any translations you wish to rely on. As for the authors interpretation's, that is strictly a matter of opinion.
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