Books, Illustration

Lapis Philosophorum

Janice Duke shares her thoughts on ‘Lapis Philosophorum’, art she created for Chemical Serpents.

Janice Duke Illustration

For the last in this series of eight articles about the illustrations I produced for Chemical Serpents I would like to wrap up by discussing the cover. The cover art for Chemical Serpents is called “Lapis Philosophorum”, which means “Philosopher’s Stone”.

8_2 Lapis Philosophorum Janice Duke © 2012 Lapis Philosophorum © Janice Duke 2012

The Philosopher’s Stone has a history and mystery that goes back a lot further than the famous Harry Potter book. Reference to the stone can be found as far back as Cheirokmeta by Zosimos of Panopolis circa 300 AD, and some writers go further, claiming that its history goes back to the biblical Adam who is said to have gained knowledge of the stone directly from God. This knowledge is said to have been passed down through biblical patriarchs, providing the source for their longevity.

Regardless of this mythic claim, the theoretical roots of the stone’s creation can be traced to Ancient Greek…

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