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A lady visiting an alchemist in his laboratory. Oil painting attributed to Jan Josef Horemans, 17--.

Teniers, David, 1610-1690.

About this picture

Description

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

Physical description

1 painting : oil on canvas ; canvas 50 x 58 cm

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