This is a new print in my ongoing Alchemy series. This ancient art is also called “The Great Work” and is said to produce the perfect hermaphrodite or androgyne. Symbolically this is done by immersing the Sun king and Moon queen into a solution of alchemical Mercury(female) and alchemical sulphur (male). The androgyne is a product of their union and starts the fermentation phase. Androgyny is seen in alchemical terms as a symbol of immortality, transcendence and totality. From a psycho spiritual perspective this stage of alchemy describes a triumph over duality. In Jungian terms it describes a union of opposites , the balanced man and woman. Greek mythology tells how Hermaphoditus was the result of a union between Aphrodite and Hermes(mercury). who was portrayed in Greco-Roman art as a female figure with male genitals. This androgyne deity was associated with marriage symbolising the coming together of men and women in sacred union.
I recently had the pleasure to view this wonderful sculpture at the British Museum…..on loan from the Louvre for a recent exhibition.
“The sleeping Hermaphoditus”…artist unknown