Salvador Dalí

Alchimie des Philosophes – Le Roi et la reine (The King and Queen)

lithograph on parchment
Inventory number 838
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. 

For alchemists, the base materials used in alchemy are represented by dominant and compliant forms. Dalí characteries this suggestion in the Le Roi et la reine artwork through the arrangement of a king and queen. The presentation of male and female figures also points to the idea of procreation. The coming together of sperm and the egg for transformation into a child is vocalised within the text of the Alchimie des Philosophes book.