A lady visiting an alchemist in his laboratory. Oil painting attributed to Jan Josef Horemans, 17--.
- Teniers, David, 1610-1690.
About this work
The alchemist seated on the right, the man next to him looking up, the standing man in the left background, and other details are taken from well-known paintings by David Teniers II. They wear seventeenth-century costume. A folio-sized volume printed in two columns, used by the alchemist, is a philosophical text from the sixteenth or early seventeenth century. Behind the alchemist stands a wealthy widow, as indicated by her black cape and fur-lined golden coat. She may also be derived from a Teniers painting, but if so, the exact source has not yet been identified. In the seventeenth century many alchemists were patronized by princes, nobles and wealthy burghers: here the woman is presumed to be understood as the patroness of the alchemist, who is seeking on her behalf the Elixir of life and/or the Philosopher's stone. By Horemans' time this system of patronage was rare: hence the subject of the painting as well as the style recalls an earlier era
1 painting : oil on canvas ; canvas 50 x 58 cm
Wellcome Library no. 45108i
Several Netherlandish artists of the eighteenth century paid tribute to their much admired predecessors of the seventeenth century by painting imitations of seventeenth century paintings, and this is one of those imitations. The artist imitated here is the Flemish painter David Teniers the younger (1610-1690), and his admirer is probably one of the Horemans family--Jan Josef the elder (1682-1759) or possibly the younger (1714-after 1790). There are similar paintings signed with the name of Horemans. Teniers was born in Antwerp and the Horemans studio was also in Antwerp, hence the painting acknowledges an Antwerp tradition
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A lady visiting an alchemist in his laboratory. Oil painting attributed to Jan Josef Horemans, 17--. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)