Library Catalog

Chemical purification / Celentano
"Alchemy is the art that most closely imitates nature."

—Albertus Magnus

Contrary to the popular misconception that the pursuit of alchemy was simply the transformation of substances into gold, alchemists sought no less than to reproduce the divine act of creation through experimentation, philosophy, and religious devotion. In a highly stratified world, alchemists bridged the gap between philosophers interested only in the workings of the mind, and artisans who produced objects with their hands. Joining theory to practice, alchemical thought spanned the arts and sciences from mineralogy and the manufacture of paint-pigments to statecraft and cosmology. Acquisition of the Manly Palmer Hall Collection in 1995 provided the Getty Research Institute with one of the world's leading collections of alchemy, esoterica, and hermetica. This collection allows scholars to trace the trajectory of alchemy from its golden age in the late 16th and 17th centuries, through the years of Enlightenment and revolution, and into the modern period.