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Gianfrancesco Pico and Alchemy: Authentic Passion or Misattribution?

Sat, April 1, 8:30 to 10:00am, Palmer House Hilton, Floor: Seventh Floor, Clark 1

Abstract

This paper focuses on De Auro Libri Tres, an alchemical treatise published in 1586 and attributed to Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola. Considering Gianfrancesco's usually negative attitude toward alchemy and the frequent use of pseudonyms in alchemical literature, this treatise is often discarded as the result of a misattribution. A text by Gianfrancesco Pico's friend Lilio Giraldi, however, describes the count of Mirandola not only as an avid collector of alchemical texts, but also as a practicioner experimenting with metals and crucibles. Was alchemy one among the Count of Mirandola's passions or rather the result of a misattribution? By cross-referencing De Auro Libri Tres with Gianfrancesco Pico's philosophical and poetic works, this paper will further support the authenticity of this text while also trying to situate it in the field of Early Renaissance alchemy.

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