Salvador Dalí

Alchimie des Philosophes – L’Ange de l’alchimie (The Angel of Alchemy)

c1975
lithograph on parchment
Inventory number 835
Alchemy is an ancient philosophical tradition, associated with purification. It is believed that alchemists sought to purify base materials into gold whilst practicing spiritual exercises to purify the human soul to reach perfection. 

Dalí created 275 copies of the artist book Alchimie des Philosophes, each containing 10 artworks representing distinct alchemical themes.  

An angel is often used to depict the alchemist within the philosophical tradition, a superior being that can perform magical transformation. Dalí also uses angelic imagery in L'Ange de l'alchimie to represent vapour as volatile matter. His depiction of the angel suggests that it is moving upwards in a wild manner, with frenetic movement of the wings. Two red gems for eyes and shadows are used to convey the sometimes ominous and dark mystery surrounding alchemy.