Salvador Dalí

Alchimie des Philosophes – Le Songe d’un alchimiste ou l’abre de vie (The Philosopher’s Dream or the Tree of Life)

c1975
lithograph on parchment
Inventory number 841
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.

The tree of life compares the process of alchemy to that of the evolution of living organisms. A woman and man hold a flower outward and above, each referring to the magical and sublime processes of alchemy. Dalí’s image also shows floating flowers, which colours represent the colours created during alchemy.