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An Alchemist

Photo credit: The National Gallery, London

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A man stoops over a fireplace, using bellows to stoke the fire that heats the contents of a pot standing in the flames. He is an alchemist in the process of trying to turn base metals into silver or gold. His shabby and chaotic surroundings suggest that he is so obsessed with his work that he has neglected his other responsibilities, as well as squandering his possessions away. The loose, sketchy brushstrokes the artist has used to depict some of the items strewn on the floor, such as the dirty rags and straw, emphasise the disorder of the room.

The National Gallery, London

London


Date

1661

Medium

Oil on oak

Measurements

H 34 x W 45.2 cm

Accession number

NG846

Acquisition method

Bought, 1871

Work type

Painting


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Normally on display at

The National Gallery, London

Trafalgar Square, London, Greater London WC2N 5DN England

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