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Q U I C K   L I N K S

To learn more about the engraver of the 17th-century head-piece pictured to the left, see the IN BRIEF biography for Wenceslaus Hollar.

For more about forthcoming projects planned for this website, see the PREVIEWS section.

N O T E

Most of the images to be included in this forthcoming Gallery Exhibit are not yet listed in She-philosopher.​com’s Gallery Catalog.


First Published:  November 2012


Under Construction

S O R R Y,  but this Gallery Exhibit — on Athanasius Kircher’s luxuriant information trees, and other visual representations of Kircher’s combinatorial logic (a unified system of knowledge patterned after the basic structure of the universe) — is still under construction.

17th-century head-piece showing six boys with farm tools, by Wenceslaus Hollar

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that you will return to check on its progress another time.

Meanwhile, there is closely-related material available elsewhere at She-philosopher.com.

 The tree (like the circle) was a traditional metaphor for complete and unified knowledge, and the linkage of trees with the human psyche is an extremely long one. For more on this historic linkage, see the companion Gallery Exhibit for She-philosopher.com’s digital edition of Michael Evans’s “The Geometry of the Mind,” his 1980 lecture on medieval information design, 12th through 15th centuries.

 Kircher used a philosophical tree structure in Ars Magna Sciendi (Amsterdam, 1669) to represent all branches of knowledge. But on the engraved allegorical title-page to Book II of this work, Kircher used 9 women to symbolize the canonical arts & sciences corresponding to the 9 universal subjects (God, Angel, Heaven, Elements, Man, Sensitive Nature, Vegetative Nature, Minerals, and Accidentals) in his combinatorial logic. I have turned this detail (Gallery Cat. No. 1a) into She-philosopher.com’s trademark image.

 The emblematic title-page to Book I of Kircher’s Ars Magna Sciendi (Amsterdam, 1669) includes a Greek inscription (in English: “Nothing is more beautiful than to know the all.”) at the foot of the throne on which the Divine Sophia (another female personification of wisdom) sits. The detail (Gallery Cat. No. 2a) is reproduced on the illustrated title-page for Athanasius Kircher in THE PLAYERS section, and is based on a Platonic truth which engaged Kircher’s visual imagination:

Plato said, “Nothing is more divine than to know everything,” sagely and elegantly, for just as Knowledge illuminates the mind, refines the intellect and pursues universal truths, so out of the love of beautiful things it quickly conceives and then gives birth to a daughter, Wisdom, the explorer of the loftiest matters, who, passing far beyond the limits of human joy, joins her own to the Angelic Choruses, and borne before the Ultimate Throne of Divinity, makes them consorts and possessors of Divine Nature.

(Kircher, Ars Magna Sciendi, 3r)

If you have specific questions relating to She-philosopher.com’s ongoing research projects, contact the website editor.

 

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