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'The Art of Ramon Lull. An approach to it through Lull’s theory of the elements'

Frances A. Yates (1899-1981) was a professor at the prestigious Warburg Institute of the University of London.

Yates devoted herself to the study of Ramon Llull with fundamental works on the art of memory that underlies the ars combinatoria (The Art of Memory, 1966). As Yates recognised, the figures and the alphabet that Llull uses are instruments or codes to memorize and visualize the system.

‘The Art of Ramon Lull. An approach to it through Lull’s theory of the elements’ is devoted to the theory of the elements of Ramon Llull, mostly based on the Tractatus Novus de Astronomia (1297), the only book that Llull wrote on this topic.

In it he uses an alphabet and a figure applied to astronomy (the four elements, the planets, the signs of the zodiac), following the method of the ars. In some way, it aims to establish a scientific astrology.

In connection with the symbols or structures of the ladder and the tree that we are examining this week, this article also expresses the Lullian conception according to which the human being is a microcosm linked to the functioning of nature and the entire universe.

Frances A. Y.,1954. The Art of Ramon Lull. An approach to it through Lull’s theory of the elements. Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 17, pp. 115-173. Extract from this article

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Understanding Ramon Llull: ​Philosophy, Arts and Science through the Ars Combinatoria

Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona

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