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Title An Alchemist Seated at a Furnace, Turning Away in Thought
Collection Wellcome Library
Artist After Ryckaert, David, III (Flemish painter, 1612-1661)
Previously attributed to after Teniers, Abraham (Flemish painter, 1629-1670)
Date Earliest about 1700
Date Latest about 1800
Description Paintings on alchemical themes were popular in seventeenth-century Flemish and Dutch art. It is not known who initiated this interest but both Teniers and Ryckaert took up the theme in earnest around 1648. The alchemist theme is used as an illustration of human folly involving futile searches. Unlike Teniers, Ryckaert does not direct references to the alchemist's foolishness. This work is based on a work by the seventeenth-century Flemish artist David Ryckaert III but is not an exact copy. The alchemist is sitting by a window through which light is cast over the left hand side of the painting.
Current Accession Number 47474i
Former Accession Number P 1330/1939
Subject figure; interior; still life; everyday life
Measurements 48.4 x 60.8 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on panel
Acquisition Details Bequeathed by Henry Solomon Wellcome 1936.
Publications Van Haute, B., David III Ryckaert: A Seventeenth-Century Flemish Painter of Peasant Scenes, Turnhout, 1999.
Notes There is a red seal on the back. Also in pen ' Palerme 1811'. This work is identical to Wellcome work reference 45115i. Not identifiably referred to as a complete work in Bernadette van Haute, David III Ryckaert, Belgium, about 1999. Such scenes often include the alchemist's wife, missing in this example. The alchemist is also often shown experimenting at night which allows the artist to show his ability in depicting candle light. This painting is also close in composition to a work by Cornelis Pietersz Bega.
Rights Owner (c) The Wellcome Trust
Author Dr Madeleine Korn
 

 

 

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