Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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Arbor Moralis (Moral Tree)
  • Ramon Llull
  • Arbor Moralis (Moral Tree), 1469
  • Arbor X scientiae [sic] venerabilis et caelitus illuminati Patris Raymundi Lullii ... : liber ad omnes scientias utilissimus. (The Tree of Science of the August and Heavenly Illuminated Father Ramon Llull: the Most Useful Book According to All Science) Lugduni: Impensis...Guilhelmi Huyon, & Constantini Fradin..., 1515 (Lyon: At great cost...Guilhelmi Huyon, & Constantini Fradin..., 1515)
  • Spencer Research Library, Department of Special Collections, Summerfield C1469 item 1
  • Not on display
  • EL2009.019
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Trees & Other Ramifications: Branches in Nature & Culture," Mar-2009, Steve Goddard
Ramon Llull was a remarkable thinker and a prolific writer. The central theme of Llull’s writing is an attempt to understand the world, which he referred to as “the Art.” His use of logic, symbols, diagrams, and some mechanical devices to explore “the Art” have led some to consider Llull as the founder of modern computing. The Tree of Science is an encyclopedic approach to sharing his thoughts about “the Art,” with each of sixteen chapters organized with the aid of a schematic tree diagram, in which the roots, trunk, branches, leaves and flowers all play a role.

On the right side of the Moral Tree, exhibited here, the roots of evil (including stupidity and malice), lead to habits, then to vice, and ultimately to the seven deadly sins. On the left the roots of righteousness (including truth and wisdom) lead to habits, then to virtue, and ultimately to the seven cardinal virtues.