Starry-Eyed Golden Boy
We next discussed the identity of the Golden Boy observing that he had not only been modelled after a 14th century commemorative statue to Hermes Trismegestus (Mercury), but more importantly, he was surrounded by four sculptural groups representing the noble elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water, the so-called materia prima for the alchemist.
In this capacity, the Rotunda serves as an architectural metaphor for the complete alchemical process, which unifies Mercury, the four elements and sulphur. It was shown that sulphur’s planetary counterpart is Venus (Ishtar), which is represented by the black eight-pointed star that lies at the base of the Pool of the Black Star, directly below the Golden Boy.
Although usually known for its attempts to change base metals into gold and investigations into preparation of the ‘elixir of longevity’, in this case the Golden Boy represents of the Masonic alchemical pursuit of perfection of the mind and soul. -- Frank Albo, 2004