Sacred and Profane Love

Sacred and Profane Love

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Introducing the cosmographical blueprint for the Twin Venuses.

"When you eventually see through the veils to how things really are, you will       keep saying again and again, this is certainly not how we thought it was."

                                                                                       Jalal al-Din Rumi

Within the Sacred and Profane Love a circle can be scribed to form a boundary which is then populated by a constellation map of the South Celestial Hemisphere. This constellation map has at its centre the South Celestial Pole (in the Sacred and Profane Love this is indicated by the mouth of the spigot at the front of the fountain/sarcophagus ). 
These Southern constellations are viewed from earth as though one were standing at the South Pole viewing an apparently two-dimensional half globe (a hemisphere) which has our Earth at the centre replete with both North and South Celestial Poles which correspond to (and are an extension of) the Earths terrestrial poles.  
Now, being bound by the circle, the positions of the Southern constellations in the Southern sky can be recorded. Of the thirteen constellational references (as metaphors) that can be found in the Sacred and Profane Love, four non-zodiacal  and nine zodiacal constellations selectivey populate a map of the South Celestial Hemisphere. Only on a Southern Starmap do all of the thirteen constellations appear in these forms; they are 'upside down' and 'back to front' as it were. It is this specific Southern starmap that is 'hidden' by the interpretive iconology presented by the true auteur of the specific pictorial language of the Sacred and Profane Love.
Of the four non-zodiacal Southern Constellations, three refer to a serpent, indicating the 'Divine Mother' of the Alchemical tradition. Nevertheless as cosmograpical references these constellations also dictate the posture and location of the two women of the Sacred and Profane Love.
Nine references to the zodiac are present in iconographical form (though one has been painted over it must be included in the anticlockwise sequence i.e., 9 of the 12 possible are present). From the descriptions of each it is clear that all are sourced directly from the Matheseos Libri IIX - the star catalogue of Firmicus Maternus. 
(Here it must be pointed out that the same programme abstrated from the Matheseos Libri IIX appeared many years later on the ceiling of the Sala dei Venti in the Palazzo del Te in Mantua -  executed by Titians friend Giulio Romano. Clearly Titian still had the programme upon which the Sacred and Profane Love is structured.
In the centre of the plan of the Sala dei Venti abstracted by C. Redfield and published in Gombrich's Symbolic Images, the location that corresponds to the fountain, women and child is portrayed there as Venus, Mercury, Ceres. In the Sacred and Profane Love, Venus has become Proserpine.

The importance of this is to say that this analysis is entirely referenceable, traceable, and confirmable. 

The two women of the Sacred and Profane Love and their positions within the star map are clearly, though abstractly referred to through their form as a combination of four constellation groups. Of these four constellation groups three names refer to a serpent/snake (Hydra, Serpens Cauda & Serpens Caput). Curiously, to ensure the correct identification of Hydra, the constellation of Corvus (the only non-serpentine constellation) is included, appearing as the red slip below the hem of Proserpine's dress. This is to indicate the proximity between the constellations of Hydra & Corvus (see fig. 5).  In total these four references are the only constellations represented in the Sacred and Profane Love which do not refer to a zodiacal sign. 
These positions and their relationship to the painting are the end result of following the specific guidelines as set out by Firmicus (and there are quirks among them which are discussed in the post titled 'The Zodiacal Metaphors' found on this site) but the rules and guidelines are clear and irrefutable, and they in turn describe the programme of the Sacred and Profane Love. 
When we hold the programme, we hold the paintings true history and meaning. But there is more.

A quick summary of the paintings origin as the nearly resolved Night at the studio of Giorgione. 

In 1506 Giovanni Bellini was approached by Isabella d'Este's merchant to secure a Night for her studiolo, but it appears that Bellini was reluctant to fulfil her wishes, probably he would have been loath to compromise his status as Official Painter to the State of Venice by participating in a work that (lightly) engages with Alchemical references, as alchemical works were outlawed by the Venetian State in 1488 and - no doubt - the walls have ears.  If indeed Bellini actually worked with the painting it would have been merely in conversation with Giorgione regarding the best approach to portray the program in the most beautiful manner (recalling that poetic obfuscation was Giorgione's forte). If Bellini were to engage with this comission he was at risk of losing his sensaria and position with the Venetian state. 

Now, the walls have ears? Someone must have told Isabella about the existence of a wonderful Giorgione painting in his studio because when Isabella heard of Giorgione's death she immediately dispatched a merchant to secure the painting which she described as "very singular and beautiful...". This tells us that the painting - a Night - was at, or near, a stage of resolution. She also referred to the Night as a Presepio. The diagrammatic form of a  presepio is a horseshoe arrangement surrounding a point-of-focus at the centre - often the trough/manger of the Christ child in a nativity setting. But this is a pagan presepio; a pagan Night, which is to say a pagan Nativity.

The presepio form emphasises the trough - here the fountain/sarcophagus - using Mercury standing behind the sarcophagus, and the two women seated upon the edge of either side. This affords the composition pictorial depth, and this is the beauty of the presepio arrangement. The Sacred and Profane Love fulfills a description both as Night and/or Presepio, and especially the latter in particilar if it were being described to a person who had never seen the painting

That the painting is a Night is indicated by the streaked sky: Ceres flame (from the oil lamp held aloft by the goddess) is lost to the morning light and here she fulfills the same function as the torchbearers in the Mithraic Tauroctony. While the torch is held aloft it will signify Cosmic Day, and oppositely when held down it will signify Cosmic Night. Note Proserpine's arm on the lidded basket, it is closed. She is the Queen of Night, and the consort of Pluto, god of the underworld realm of HadesCeres signifies Cosmic Day: She is the Great Mother (the  Great Virgin) who lights a pine torch in the flames of Mt Aetna to search for her daughter by night. Mother and Daughter are reunited here at the Fountain Cyane which is also the entrance to Hades - created by Pluto to expedite his abduction with Proserpine, the Daughter of CeresThe child is Psycopomp (Mercury) who leads the souls of the newly dead to the threshold of HadesHe is also the alchemical Mercury who is stirring here the waters of the 'mixt' in the Athanor the 'mixt' referring to the mixing of the white and red sulfurs in the 'Mercurial Water'. 

The fountain now can be read as the Athanor of the alchemists through which the Great Work is achieved. The allegoric narratives of the Sacred and Profane Love develop while remaing synchronised with each reading. This alchemical narrative is is reflected in the juxtapostion of colours associated with the women: Proserpine wears White with a touch of Red while Ceres wears Red with a touch of WhiteHaving found her daughter's girdle at the Fountain Cyane the two are reunited (called the Heuresis - the 'finding again'). These two can only be reunited at the Equinoxes; the turn of the cosmic cycle from Night to Day -or- Day to Night when day is still night prior to the suns arrival; therefore the painting is a nocturne, and so most definitely a 'Night'. It is also a Giorgione and not 'Giorgionesque'. Sallust, speaking upon the seadsonal rites and regarding the myth of Kore (Proserpine) states:

"The rites are performed about the Vernal Equinox, when the fruits of the earth are ceasing to be produced, and day is becoming longer than night, which applies well to spirits rising higher. (At least, the other equinox is in mythology the time of the rape of Kore, which is the descent of the souls)."

                              McQueen, J. Allegory. Greek and Roman Allegory, p.17  



The flowing red robe of Ceres at the right of the painting signals this action; 'spirits rising higher'. Proserpine, at the left is near to the child who is Cupid, Mercury, and also Psychopomp. As Psychopomp he can be read as the guide of the newly deceased souls to the entrance of Hades - which enacts Sallusts seasonal 'descent of the souls'. Sallust declares the myth of Cybele & Attis the same cosmic myth (the river Gallus represents the Milky Way etc.) and also the torchbearers of the Mithraic Tauroctony's participate in these myths belong to the cosmos and the seasons. 

Equinoxes are represented here in the Sacred and Profane Love as dawn or dusk at the same time, and which is the only time when mother and daughter are reunited- the equinoxes. Again, this helps to understand the painting as a nocturne... a NightThe figures of the Sacred and Profane Love do not simply stand as 'this for that', but can perfectly synchronise with other complimentary narratives. In this way a 'cosmic truth' can synchronise with other cosmic 'truths', such as the torchbearers and Proserpine & Ceres as cosmic Night & Day respectively; the descent of souls and the descent into Hades (Cosmic Night); The arrival of the Great Virgin in the Night sky bearing the star Spica to search for her daughter and finding her at the Fountain Cyane: These are all the same seasonal truths for as Sallust declares:

"Thus, as the myth is in accord with the Cosmos, we for that reason keep a festival imitating the Cosmos, for how could we attain a higher order?"

                                                                                          Ibid. p.17 

It is important to recall that these myths were enacted in ritual, in different places, in different times but all myths intend to participate in the cosmic order through the rituals and reenactments of them.

At the front of the fountain are reliefs that, at the right appear to participate in the Lupercalia (Google image  'Lupercalia' and note the raised arms lashing the votaries; at the left, Ceres is known to have turned herself into a mare to escape the unwanted advances of Jupiter. There is a theme of rejection of the notion of 'sin' and a return to the sacralised and unbridled enjoyment of the body and loves force.

The diminutive iconography surrounding the Grand Central Suite (the fountain/sarcophagus, two women & child) refer to nine zodiacal metaphors - including the 'head of a dog or cow' noted in 1978 by Harold Wethey with the naked eye after close examinations of the painting and which was later discredited by some academics in support of the Marconi restoration. (The late Artwatch founder James Beck was keenly interested when this writer suggested to him that the restoration has changed the painting's surface and that it could be proven by reintroducing Wethey's 'head of a dog or cow' - which logically should be there in perfect anti-clockwise sequence with the range beginning with Taurus and concluding with Aquarius). It was a dog to reference Leo as 'the dog Star' and was the third of the nine sequential descriptions of certain zodiacal metaphors that can be sourced to the Matheseos Libri IIX of Firmicus Maternus. Here I am not stating that the restoration is bad, but what I am saying is that all restorations permanently alter the surface of any painting, and the Sacred and Profane Love is now the perfect example by which changes made to a paintings surface through a restoration can be assessed. Both Beck and David Rosand showed interest in this reading of the painting which was delayed for several years due to illness, and sadly, both men have died in the ten year descent/recovery interim. 

The manner by which revelations contained within the Sacred and Profane Love are accessed according to the paintings classical, geometric, and zodiacal plans.
Fig 1. A circle can be scribed from the position of the rider on horseback [a] with the circles centre being the mouth of the spigot at the fountains front [c] 

In the Sacred and Profane Love, Taurus is designated by the rider on horseback. Each of the nine zodiacal metaphors presnt in the Sacred and Profane Love follow the descriptions of Firmicus Maternus in the Mathesos Libri IIX. There, Firmicus designates Taurus as 'f'issure' under Taurus Hooves'). This is the lock to opening the first clue on the anti-clockwise round of zodiacal metaphors. Taurus (actually the road upon which the horse and rider are travelling) mimic the 'split or fissure' (which is the slight vision of the constellation as it appears on Southern Starmap. See fig. 2 below). The upper left quarter of both the painting and starmap mimic each other, and is the original key to indicate the limit of the circles boundary, while the centre of the circle corresponds to the mouth of the fountains spigot.  Looking to the celestial map of the South Celestial Hemisphere [fig 2], this same centre marks the position of the South Celestial Pole.

Fig 2. Constellation map of the southern hemisphere [+]  at the centre of the star map refers to the south celestial pole. Note the four constellations in blue highlight.

In fig 2 (above) the Southern star map is sited over the rectangular dimensions of the Sacred and Profane Love. Note the four constellations in blue highlight; Hydra (& Corvus) and Serpens Cauda & Serpens Caput. 

Fig 3.Those four constellations in their original positions abstracted from the same constellation map of fig. 2.. 

The positions of the constellations and their relationship to the Sacred and Profane Love's rectangular format has not been altered but rather, Fig. 3 isolates the four constellations from the star map in fig 2. setting the constellation map over the Sacred and Profane Love's rectangular format [fig 3]. Now in relief those four constellations reveal the narrative of the twin Venuses (aka Proserpine & Ceres) and furthers the relationship between the celestial cosmography and the paintings hidden format.

Fig 4. The four constellations have been shifted to fit the rectangular format of the Sacred and Profane Love. Included now is the composite sarcophagus/fountain sourced from the Hynerotomachia Poliphili woodcut.
The circles axis is located at the mouth of the spigot of the Hypnerotomachia's woodcut.

In fig 4. the four constellations have been moved slightly upward from their original positions to approximate position, dimension, and relation, to the sarcophagus/fountain of the Sacred and Profane Love. It is visually expedient to use the composite image of the fountain/sarcophagus sourced from the Hynerotomachia Poliphili woodcut [see fig 4] to show the design connection between the constellations and the two women of the Sacred and Profane Love. Correspondences between the constellation map of the Southern sky, and the figurative, plastic iconology of the Sacred and Profane Love should now be apparent. 


Fig 5. Hydra, Corvus and the folds of Proserpine's dress

Referring to fig 5, the constellation of Hydra sinuates along the folds of Proserpine's dress. Beginning at the viewers left, the constellation has a distinct curve - as does the form of the dress. A little further to the right and directly below Hydra's most expansive angle (the dresses largest fold) a red slip is exposed indicating the constellation of Corvus (The Crow). The positive identification of Proserpine's hem is further rewarded by focusing upon Serpens Cauda and Serpens Caput in fig 6. [I will add here that when one has actually attempted to paint a figurative image according to a strict design the fluctuation from emulating a mathematical structure will often be under appreciated.]

But it is that seemingly inconsequential slip at the base of Proserpine's dress with its smart flash of red which is clearly designed to indicate the constellation of Corvus - for  Corvus (the Crow) has nothing to do with serpents. Corvus then, is achieving what the line of Hydra cannot do, and that is to designate specificity; make no mistake, if Hydra alone does not seem to offer the interpreter confidence, the combination of the two (Hydra & Corvus) should achieve that interpretive confidence, and all of this must again be taken into account with Serpens Caput & Serpens Cauda; as serpentine references, their proximity on a Southern starmap and the clear constellational relationship to the painted form of both godesses. Nothing here is felicitous. Again, the thread that unites Hydra & Serpens Cauda & Serpens Caput is that each of those constellations are related because they reference serpents; the water serpent (Hydra) and the head and tail of the snake (Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda respectively) but fundamentally, serpents.

Fig 6. Correspondence between
Serpens Cauda & Serpens Caput.
In fig 6 two constellations are represented. Serpens Cauda translates as serpents tail, and Serpens Caput as serpents head. Tellingly, these constellations are 'upside down' from the upright position as seen in the northern sky. As can be seen Serpens Cauda has become the left arm of Ceres, while Serpens Caput represents the left leg. 

When the exposed left leg appears as a repeated motif in an individuals body of work it may be prudent to inquire where and why this motif began. Was the artist simply following the Sleeping Nymph woodcut from the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili or was it perhaps the scrutinising of the Sacred and Profane's Love's programme that inspired the artist to recall that woodcut and reinvent this motif as a truth? After all, the vocation of the artist - as opposed to the profession of the painter - is commitment to truth.

Fig 7. Synchronising the four constellations with the two figures.

These serpentine constellations highlight the relationship between the women as a feminine power; the Kundalini force. Corvus appears the odd one out among the serpentine constellations - it does not reference a serpent at all. But it's prescence is integral to recognise Hydra's form. This is to say that if the flow of the constellation of Hydra against the hem of Proserpine could be considered speculative, the red slip of Corvus is intended to reinforce the fact of Hydra's association with Corvus is specific and this is why it has been included in the Sacred and Profane Love as the exposed red  slip at the hem of Proserpine's dress.  In the Sacred and Profane Love, the constellation of Corvus is in perfect mimicry of the relationship to the constellation Hydra. These cosmographical associations with the hem of the dress are specific and not at all coincidental and shows that the artists were following a programme.


The two women the most likely area of the painting developed by Giorgione c.1506 - 1510.

In the Sacred and Profane Love, Ceres has one arm raised and one leg exposed - the left leg. Return to Giorgione and find this motif in several works (Judith, The Venus of Urbino, The Sacred and Profane Love) associated now with the great mother (or in the case of Judith a persona now elevated to that of a celestial goddess). Just as the Venus pudica attitude (the modesty) referred to the classicism of ancient Praxiteles (Greek c.350BCE) the motif of the exposed left leg repeats in Giorgione's oeuvre when he is referring to the goddess as an elevated or sanctified being. The essential difference is that the pudica pose pays homage to classicism, whereas Giorgione's exposed left leg is referencing the celestial attitude of the constellations Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda which he has absorbed into his visual language. This motif then refers the rise of the artist as an intellectual unafraid of developing (and synthesising) a new visual language based upon the celestial abstractions of the Sacred and Profane Love's celestial programme (the new information). This also indicates the programme was with Giorgione from the time of the Judith (1504). It is out with references to classicism such as a pudica pose, and in with scholarly 'collaboration' as in important information share that has been comprehended, absorbed and developed by the artist. This is the development of Giorgione's oeuvre.

Giorgione is the artist responsible for the two women of the Sacred and Profane Love (Proserpine and Ceres), though there is no doubt that Titian has reworked the surface of the entire piece - including the escutcheon for Aurelio - which begs the question as to exactly what deal was struck between Titian and Aurelio? The Aurelio coat~of~arms, indicates a collaboration that most likely began in the workshop of Giovanni Bellini, was initially plastically arranged by Giorgione, and then finished finally by Titian - for Aurelio.

Was the zodiacal iconology developed by two different mindsets or has Giorgione become a little more rushed? This needs to be addressed because there are different approaches to the iconology; at the left of the painting the iconology refers to the zodiacal descriptions of Firmicus Maternus found in the Matheseos Libri IIX - and on the right the iconology refers more to the established zodiacal sigils. The sequence is intact but the approach has altered.

Though it is documented that a programme was offered to Bellini by Isabella's merchant, I would argue that this painting's programme was forwarded at the request of her younger brother Alfonso d'Este, and not just because the political machinations seem to suit (Venice was at war with Alfonso) but the painting also reworks familial zodiacal themes that were established during the reign of Borso d'Este at Schifanoia known as the MonthsThe abiding problem as to why Isabella never received this painting (as her elusive Night) is that it is likely that she was unaware of this paintings existence. Which is to say that in all of Isabella's earlier attempts in negotiation she seems rather mild, with perhaps the only barest tinge of even a slight frustration. It is only after Giorgione's death that Isabella appears to become possessive and urgent. Clearly, she is willing to settle at 'any price' for a painting a 'notte' (night) which she had obviously never seen. Had Alfonso informed her of the importance of this painting? 
One might suspect that the invenzione or programme for the Night (as the Sacred and Profane Love) was never sent on the behalf of Isabella at all but perhaps (using the same merchant) on the behalf of her brother Alfonso - Duke of Ferrara - the most loathed man in Venice at the time. Isabella still negotiates for her Night and eventually settled for a Nativity - but these paintings were not the same as historians have mistakenly believed for years. Alfonso played a duplicitous game with Giorgione executing this work for him. Among the duplicity and the ultimate theft and reworking of the Night/Sacred and Profane Love, Titian's character can now can be seen for all its ambition, cunning, and dishonesty. He will absorb several of Giorgione's paintings and rework them too, eventually rising to assume Bellini's coveted position of Painter to the Venetian State. The debt owed by Aurelio for the reworking of the Sacred and Profane Love would be finally resolved on the eventual death of old Bellini.

Considerations on the pudica pose.

The pudica pose has long association with the classical ideal of Venus, but it also a received history which declares an older social and moral order (modesty) which is a cipher closed to meaning anything other than the obvious identification of Venus and a homage to the classical ideal. Therefore the language of the pose pudica is now somewhat incompatible with the advance of a visual language that must be in step with a culture delighting in the printing press - see the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili; the Matheseos Libri etc.; patronage (the Estense library; the courts of Ferrara and Mantua) and the access to historical sources enabling the humanist advisor (the polymath that developed this invenzione) and the collaboration of the three artists in the pictorial development of the Sacred and Profane Love (Bellini, Giorgione, and Titian) in representing that new surge of information in this complex visual form. 


The attitudes of Botticelli's Venuses (Primavera and the Birth of Venus) bear the stamp of a Praxitelean classicism of the middle ages, but Giorgione delivers his Venuses directly from the cosmos as the Nymph (see the Nymph and Satyr woodcut as presented in the Hypnerotomachia) appears to have been sourced from a constellational form. Giorgione's consistency with the left leg seems to be confirmed by the final arrival of the prominent left leg motif of the Twin Venuses of the Sacred and Profane Love and sourced from the constellation of Serpens CaputThis very potent attitude (the dominant left leg) arguably influenced Giorgione's Sleeping Venus c.1510, and the Sacred and Profane Love c.1514 (actually much earlier) as Isabella d'Este's merchant is documented to have approached Bellini in 1506 with a programme (Bellini was reluctant to follow the strict rules) and so the motif of the left leg precedes both the Sleeping Venus and the Sacred and Profane Love and yet can be evidenced in both. 

Giorgione engages sign and metaphor as conceptual entities; there is no theory of everything or theory of anything and so passes from similitude to apprehension through groups of 'natural' correspondences which in itself is a conceptual/intellectual spiritual path as once described by Sallust:
"Since God is intellectual, and all intellect returns into itself"

                                                                        McQueen, J. Allegory. Greek and Roman Allegory, p.15 

Giorgione portrays a confident belief in a silent, interior language as the commonality between the self and others, and his works are also steeped in the investigation of an Italian religiosity antecedent to the rise of the Holy Roman Church - as a part of common heritage; the essence of the Italian Renaissance. In contrasting Giorgione's sensibility to Titian's, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili's unusual Italian mysticism would seem beyond the young Titian's personal interests or intellectual predilections, but still, this is not to challenge Titian's obvious intelligence which has been made clear by a marvellous gift for plastic representation. Nevertheless, if Titian be judged by modernist twentieth century criticism (and all 'art' if it is 'art' can be) the comment made by Marcel Duchamp in an interview in 1968 must be presented here:
"In France there is an old saying, “Stupid like a painter.” The painter was considered stupid, but the poet and writer very intelligent. I wanted to be intelligent. I had to have the idea of inventing. It is nothing to do what your father did. It is nothing be another C├ęzanne. In my visual period there is a little of that stupidity of the painter. All my work in the period before the Nude was visual painting. Then I came to the idea. I thought the ideatic formulation a way to get away from influences."                                                                                                                    Retrieved 25-2-2021
This is the division between Giorgione and Titian. Giorgione through the collaboration that has become the Sacred and Profane Love, discovered something beyond mere representation and contextual manipulation of the image simply re-representing itself: Giorgione was working with images that were multirepresentational concepts. Titian probably never understood the conceptual depth that the Sacred and Profane Love's programme could invest by employing the multi level synthesis of the programme given to Bellini. The amount of information this method employed (symbology, geometry, mythology, allegory, plastic representation etc.) can be found formatively in the use of geometry by Fra Angelico and certain Northern painters; but the method in the Night/Sacred and Profane Love's programme took the methodology employed in previous allegoric methods to an entirely new level.


Fig 10. Lucas Cranach the Elder. Nymph of Spring, c.1518 Museum der Bildenden Kunste

One can be an uninformed though competent painter at the same time. Lucas Cranach examples not a stupid painter, but a painter unaware of the finer 'message' of the image of the reclined Venus [see fig 11]. Curiously this work by Cranach seems to have combined Giorgione's Sleeping Venus with ta similar fountain emblem to that of the Sacred and Profane Love. Cranach has placed his Venus in an isolated environment far from the towns in the distance. She reclines upon a luxurious red fabric (vitality) contrasted by the soothing fecund green of  fertility. Behind her a rectangular fountain with the form of a tomb perpetually showers its waters with its own abundance. Has Cranach seen both paintings by Giorgione? Cranach may have chosen to deliberately ignore the refined points surrounding the Italian Venus, after all the subtleties of an historic Italian culture do not belong to his world; Cranach would become a friend of Martin Luther and so, sympathetic with the Protestant Reformation. Alternately, the interest in Italian paganism displays a recalcitrance to the temporal rule of the Holy Roman Church. The Nymph of Spring [fig 11] participates in the manner of Giorgione's reclined or Sleeping Venus, but the mechanics forming the outcome while appearing similar, stem from entirely distinct agendas. 

The author of the Hypnerotomachia, Fra Colonna seems to have developed, discovered, found, or resurrected an historical path as native to the indigenous Italian region as it is likely to get - and which has its own alchemical peculiarities. Polia the novels heroine, should be seen as Colonna's answer to Dante's Beatrice in a story which could be described as an allegorical and alchemical fantasy which appears to have influenced the later 'Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz' - that novella also steeped in alchemical implications. Alchemic propositions provide a thread which can be decorated with many religious deities through their theogonies, narratives, myths and allegories. It is interesting to note that the psychologist Carl Jung admired the Hypnerotomachia and thought the dream images to be an affirmation of his theory of archetypes, which brings to mind the work of Erich Neumann again in his publication The Great Mother. 
Are we dealing with Jungian archetypes or something more concrete? The next three interests shall consider 1. Concrete influence. 2. Archetypal associations and the curious relationship between Venice and Tenochtitlan. 3. Religious sources; Symbolism of the Cult of Mithras; the Tauroctony etc. These things need to be articulated even if only to be certain of dismissing any of them as fanciful.

Paul Doughton ©1997 - 2021. No images on this site to be used without permission.