New Open Access Journal Article on Alchemy, the Body, and Medicine in the Material Renaissance by Umberto Veronesi and Stefan Hanß

by | Feb 28, 2023 | Uncategorised | 0 comments

The new article

“The Lute of Wisdom”: Alchemy, the Body, and Medicine in the Material Renaissance

by Umberto Veronesi (NOVA University of Lisbon) and Stefan Hanß (University of Manchester) has been now published open access in Nuncius: Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science (Brill).

This article is the first interdisciplinary study of excavated early modern lute, a paste that alchemists wrapped around vessels, contextualising its relevance for the history of science. Veronesi and Hanß explore the material epistemology of the alchemical laboratory by opening a conversation between archaeological sciences and the history of the body, medicine, and science.

In an age that valued embodied epistemologies, Veronesi and Hanß argue, medicine mattered for cultures of making and affected alchemists’ material practices.

This article combines the scientific analysis of luted glass remains from the sixteenth-century Oberstockstall alchemical laboratory in Kirchberg am Wagram, Lower Austria, with the in-depth study of recipe collections, alchemical, botanical, medical, and metallurgical treatises, and visual sources.

Based on this methodology, Veronesi and Hanß argue that the alchemist’s material practices were strongly linked to early modern Paracelsian thought and medical understandings of the body. In methodological terms, this article shifts boundaries between historians, archaeologists, and materials scientists.

The article is open access and available here

as pdf,



Image right: Paracelsus, Avrora thesavrvsqve philosophorvm […], edited by Gerhard Dorn (Basel: Guarin, 1577), Universitätsbibliothek Basel, UBH Le VIII 30:2. Citation: Nuncius 38, 1 (2023) ; 10.1163/18253911-bja10054 © Universitätsbibliothek Basel.