SPLENDOR SOLIS (2013) Watercolor and graphite
Severing of the Head of the King; or The Martyrdom of Metal.
The goal of alchemy is transcendence. It lifts the base metals to noble gold, and elevates the human spirit to reach the realm of divinity.
The transformation of lead to gold is, on a higher level, merely a metaphor for the transmutation the human soul.
In order to reach divinity, the noble spirit must withstand the trial of martyrdom.The soul (the golden head) must be beheaded and extracted from the base metal--purification--by the agent of change and duality, Mercury.