My latest work of a fiction, a comedic mystery adventure novel, The 8th Immortal, features a number of fascinating characters drawn from legend and folklore.

 

Over the next few weeks and months I will be introducing these characters to you, with illustrations drawn from a variety of sources in the public domain.

 

Our first character is one that most readers will have heard of— the brilliant and notorious Faust or Dr. Faustus as he’s called in my novel.

 

Faust has been a figure of speculation for centuries.

 

Was he a real person or a literary creation?

 

A real figure. Possibly.

 

But will the real Faust please stand up?

   Introducing Dr. Faustus

 

Characters from Frederick Highland's The 8th Immortal

Of all the artworks associated with Faust and his legend, this Rembrandt etching of 1652 has tantalized researchers. Rembrandt never named the work but it came to be called "The Practicing Alchemist" and only later "Faust in His Study."

 

This illuminated sphere with its Christian and alchemical symbolism suggest that Rembrandt had more than a passing acquaintence with the arcane. Links to studies of this symbolism can be found on the last page of this article.

An 18th Century idealized portrait of Faustus, holding, for all the world to see, a copy of the Bible, perhaps to suggest that the suspect alchemist was a devout Christian after all.