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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


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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