March 17, 2011

Res Obscura Miscellany, Part One

A medical alchemist, or 'iatrochemist,' examines a jar of urine in seventeenth-century Holland.
Well, I try to avoid posting decontextualized grab-bags of images (one of the drawbacks of Tumblr and its ilk, in my opinion), but I'm on vacation and busy with research, so this week I'm going to take the easy route and do just that. Below are some images that at one time or another I filed away as appropriate for Res Obscura, but which got lost in the shuffle for some reason or other. I've tried my best to add identifying details and short descriptions of their historical context.

A detail from Hans Memling's Triptych of Earthly Vanity and Divine Salvation, c.1485, Oil on oak panel, Strasbourg, 
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg. Thanks to Morbid Anatomy for reminding me of this beautiful, haunting painting. 
I believe the scroll that Satan is holding at right reads, "There is no redemption in Hell." Frightening.
Tatars in Kazan, 1885
Temptation of Saint Anthony. Unfortunately I have no other identifying details for this bizarre work.
I suspect it hails from mid-19th century Iberia, or possibly Britain.
Jan van der Straet's illustration of Canto 34 of Dante's Inferno, circa 1585.
"Now came I (and with fear I bid my strain
Record the marvel) where the souls were all
Whelm'd underneath, transparent, as through glass...
 That emperor, who sways
The realm of sorrow, at mid breast from the ice
Stood forth..."
A remarkably vast apothecary's shop. Iberian, 18th century. Unfortunately I have no further details.
Alchemist filling wet drug jars, Italian, 17th century. Via the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
Franz Christophe Janneck, Medical alchemist, oil on copper, 18th century.
Also via the Chemical Heritage Foundation.
A harrowing vision of hell, featuring monks being boiled for their sins -- a typical pictorial jab at the
much-resented clergy of the Reformation era. Portuguese, c. 1530. 


peacay said...

Here's a slightly later but complete image of the Dante lucifer illustration. Engraved by Balthasar Caymox (~1605), the best name ever in the history of the world.
Thanks Ben!

Benjamin Breen said...

Thanks peacay, that's a beautiful work. The spheres surrounding Lucifer both remind me a bit of the exterior panels of 'The Garden of Earthly Delights':