Robert Fludd and the Hermetic philosophy connection to Alphonse Mucha's Le Pater
Posted on February 01 2018
As a countdown to the release of Le Pater: Alphonse Mucha's Symbolist Masterpiece we are sharing snippets of the content included inside our expanded, oversized hardcover; this first post is to introduce you to the ideas of Robert Fludd.
Robert Fludd worked in the early 17th century as physician, and was a major contributor to the advancement of occult philosophy, astrology, mathematics, and Hermeticism, a religious and philosophical tradition that believes in a single, transcendent God, with other beings (angels and elementals) populating the universe. (More on Hermeticism later!)
What makes Fludd relevant to our study of Le Pater is that he took these philosophical ideas and translated them into visual diagrams, much in the manner that Alphonse Mucha would two centuries later. Fludd's work was far more mathematical, and brimming with fascinating and important ideas, clarifying them in diagram form.
Robert Fludd's 1617 diagram of the Macrocosm/ Microcosm
Fludd bases his view of the cosmos on the presence of one single, unnamable God, represented in the form of the unpronounceable YHWH. The world is present in three forms: the archetype (the invisible idea), the non-celestial body (the universe as we know it), and man.
Robert Fludd's diagram of the Threefold Manifestation of God
God's intentions are borne into these three worlds by his agents: angels (serving his light aspect), and devils (his dark aspect).
To properly address the works of Robert Fludd would be an entire volume unto itself; each illustration rewards hours and years of study and contemplation. For the purposes of our book, we present Fludd's basic ideas, and the idea of diagramming the metaphysical by an artist who Mucha certainly would have studied and found as intellectual and spiritual inspiration.
A very succinct and thorough overview of the ideas and illustrations of Robert Fludd is the 1979 book Robert Fludd: Hermetic Philospher and Surveyor of Two Worlds by Joscelyn Godwin. The original hardcover sells for upwards of $400-$500, but it's very affordable as a 1991 softcover reprint for only $21.93 on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Fludd-Hermetic-Philosopher-Surveyor/dp/0933999690/