An analysis of an alchemy image. “The storm rolls in.”


Clear sky at the top giving way to heavy white clouds. A storm is approaching and rolling in as I presume.

It could be a reverse presentation as well. Instead of the white being clouds, it could represent land. Perhaps a faraway land and this village are on the top of a cliff. The water represents the blue and black lines. The black lines could be waves. The clouds could be impending danger such as an invading force.

I feel like a lot of effort went into making the clouds. Possibly the artist was presenting a 3D image. The cloud top also looks like a dogs head. Or perhaps a turtle. Also, a bird of some sort viewing it top down.

I feel as the wind is blowing the trees. To the right of the first red building on the far left side, the tree appears to be leaning. If you follow the treeline above the roof of the second building it appears some of the trees are canted to the right as if being blown. Which would make sense with the direction the wind seems to be blowing. The tree behind the main building also gives me thye sense of it being blown to the right, fighting against the bend in the branches. But, the wind does not seem to be ruffling the gentleman’s purple coat.

There is no sun drawn into this picture. The sun is a big deal with a lot of these alchemy prints.

The ladder leads down to a cutout view of the hill. There are variously arranged rectangles. The upper left appears to be some type of sheep or goat perhaps a dog. Directly to the left see two sets of locks with what appears to be a black line in the middle. The top one appears to be larger than the bottom one. Looking at the right rectangle I see a woman with black hair. There is only partial visibility of the woman. Moving down to the not a rectangle, not sure what it’s called. It looks like it could be a Buffalo, is the first thing I think of. Looking over to the left this last rectangle appears to be clear. The area in between could be exposed hillside. I’ve also considered the ladder might not be a ladder but a metal support.

In the green space on top of the cutaway, I also see that it could possibly be a flood. If nothing else it is uncultivated land on the other side of the windbreaks of the village.

There is a lack of animals fleeing, typically snakes.

The house is constructed with a tile roof. The window is a stained-glass window so I would assume that is a building of some importance or wealth. It features solid arches and a thick wall. The orange vessel in the far back left is on a brick wall that is set back to serve as some sort of table or workstation. The next brick L is set in the middle of the room.

We see too long neck flask. The bottom one has a yellow substance while the top one is a red substance. I’ve not learned enough to know what these colors represent. On the floor on the right we see a knocked over beaker and to the left possibly a can or some knocked over instrument.

There is a chair but I’m not sure if that has significance.

Finally, we come to the two men. The man standing has a fancy apparel and some type of hat on. His jacket has collars which I assume have some significance. He looks like he’s questioning concerned about the man coming out of the grave. Possibly he’s having a dispute or is feeling betrayed. The men are both looking at each other.

The man in the grave with the long blonde hair could possibly be floating. For coming up out of the grave. He is pointing with his left hand towards either the cutaway of the mountain or to the clouds rolling in. The man in the hole is nude with the exception of what looks like an orange flowing robe that comes up and over. It appears that with his right hand he is trying to back in the standing man.

Remotely it looks like the nude man could also be on a horse. Under the right portion of the robe is some type of cylindrical object. It’s too far to be his leg and is at a very odd angle.

The Latin phrase “et moridendo docebo,” which roughly translates to “even if dead there is something to teach or show.” Is printed onto the stone that was covering the hole or grave. It could mean some combination of teaching through the act of death. It could be a leap of faith. Perhaps having to trust your ego.

This image reminds me of the tarot death card. Also rings true with the tower card. I feel there is some sort of problem approaching and the cutaway of the mountain shows some sort of ark or possibly an art repository.

It might also be having to make a choice between the two. The mountain cutaway features a ladder which descends into the ground the same as the hole the nude man is coming out of.

About the creator of this image. From the wikipedia page.

Johann Friedrich Henckel

Johann Friedrich Henckel (also in the spelling Henkel occurring) (born August 1, 1678 in Merseburg , † January 26, 1744 in Freiberg ) was German physician , mineralogist , metallurgist and chemist . Henckel gave since 1733 in a Freiberg laboratory chemical-metallurgical education. Henckels most famous students included the Russian polymath Mikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov and his friend and classmate Dmitry Ivanovich Vinogradov, the inventor of Russian hard porcelain. Henckel’s laboratory and his teaching collection formed one of the germ cells of the Bergakademie Freiberg .

Life and work
Henckel studied from 1698 in Jena first theology and then medicine. In 1709 he settled in Dresden as a doctor. In 1711 he received his doctorate. From 1712 he moved to Freiberg. From 1718 to 1723 he worked there as a doctor. At this time, however, he was already increasingly engaged in mineralogical and chemical investigations. In 1726 Henckel was added as a foreign member of the Prussian Academy of Sciences and 1728 in the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

After Henckel returned to Dresden in 1730, he was appointed in 1732 to Bergrat. At the same time he received the order for mineralogical state investigation.

From the year 1737, he worked as an assessor at the Freiberger Oberbergamt.

In Freiberg, Henckel, together with Christlieb Ehrengott Gellert, created the foundations for a teaching collection in order to make his minaralogic-chemical teaching lesson more vivid and comprehensible. This teaching collection has been included in the current collections of Geoscience Collections in the Faculty of Geosciences, Geotechnics, and Mining of the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg.

Henckel developed into an expert on tuberculosis and lead disease and is considered one of the main promoters of chemical mineralogy in the early 18th century.