By Iain McCalman
Freemason ... Shaman ... Prophet ... Seducer ... Swindler ... Thief ... Heretic
Who used to be the mysterious count number Cagliostro?
Depending on whom you ask, he was once both a very good healer or a perilous charlatan. the world over acclaimed historian Iain McCalman records how Cagliostro crossed paths -- and infrequently swords -- with the likes of Catherine the good, Marie Antoinette, and Pope Pius VI. He was once a muse to William Blake and the foundation for either Mozart's Magic Flute and Goethe's Faust. Louis XVI had him thrown into the Bastille for his alleged involvement in what could end up referred to as "the affair of the necklace." but in London, Warsaw, and St. Petersburg, he tested "healing clinics" for the poorest of the bad, and his dexterity within the worlds of alchemy and spiritualism gained him acclaim one of the the Aristocracy throughout Europe.
Also the chief of an unique model of Freemasonry, count number Cagliostro was once without a doubt the most influential and infamous figures of the latter eighteenth century, overcoming poverty and an ignoble beginning to develop into the darling -- and bane -- of upper-crust Europe.
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Additional resources for The Last Alchemist: Count Cagliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason
He was born ten years after the death of Stradivari and, like him, lived a long life, dying at the age of eighty-eight. His life was characterized by an unﬂagging dedication to his art, from which he retired at the age of eighty-ﬁve when his sight began to fail. He worked all day in his small workshop in Paris, located at 10 Quai de l’École, overlooking the Seine. The bows that existed prior to Tourte, even those made by Arcangelo Corelli, did not succeed in extracting the instruments’ full range of rich sounds.
Allard violin by Antonio Stradivari, 1715. clockwise from top left: Front view, back view, and scroll. Photos by Stewart Pollens. No one has ever surpassed the sheer quality of the tone, beauty, and perfect craftsmanship of his instruments. At a very young age he worked as an apprentice and assistant under the great Nicolo Amati in Cremona, but soon began working on his own. Not only did he inherit the great Cremona tradition and incorporate the Brescian virtues of violin making, but he was also a great innovator who never ceased to experiment in the search for the perfect instrument.
The modern bow: françois tourte, the stradivari of bow makers The great modern bow-making tradition began in the eighteenth century with François Tourte (1747–1835), the most brilliant bow maker in history—the Stradivari of bow makers. He was born ten years after the death of Stradivari and, like him, lived a long life, dying at the age of eighty-eight. His life was characterized by an unﬂagging dedication to his art, from which he retired at the age of eighty-ﬁve when his sight began to fail.
The Last Alchemist: Count Cagliostro, Master of Magic in the Age of Reason by Iain McCalman