Trévisan, Bernard of (1406–1490)
Italian alchemist seeking to discover the philosophers’
stone. Trévisan began at an early age to spend large sums of
money on the pursuit.
Trévisan was born at Padua. His father was a doctor of medicine,
so it is probable that Bernard received his initial training
in science at home. At the age of fourteen he devoted himself
to alchemy. He read the works of Eastern philosophers Gerber
and Rhasis. Trévisan augmented his learning with the writings
of Sacrobosco and Rupecissa. He engaged in a long course of
reading and praying.
Trévisan heard that Henry, a German priest, had succeeded
in creating the philosophers’ stone. He went to Germany, accompanied
by other alchemists. Henry claimed he would disclose
all if they would supply a certain sum of money to procure
the necessary tools and materials. After Henry proved fraud
Trévisan decided to abandon his search. However, he visited
Spain, Great Britain, Holland, and France, trying in each of
these countries to learn more about creating the philosophers’
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Trévisan, Bernard of
stone. Eventually he went to Egypt, Persia, and Palestine and
subsequently travelled in Greece.
Ultimately Trévisan found himself impoverished and was
forced to sell his parental estates. He retired to the Island of
Rhodes and met a priest who knew something of science. Trévisan
proposed they should start fresh experiments together.
The cleric agreed to help, so the pair borrowed a large sum of
money to purchase the necessary paraphernalia. The two
found some success.
It is belived that Trévisan was at least partly responsible for
an octavo volume published in 1643, Le Bernard d’Alchmague,
cum Bernard Treveso, while he is commonly credited with another
work titled La Philosophic Naturelle des Metaux. In this latter
work he insists on the necessity of meditation by the scientist
who would create the philosophers’ stone.
Bernard of Trévisan is often confused with two other individuals—Bernardo
Trevisano (1652–1720), a Venetian devoted
to languages, mathematics, philosophy, and painting, and Bernardinus
Trivisanus (1506–1583), who studied arts and medicine
at Padua and became professor of logic and medical theory