Prudentia Warns an Alchemist of the Dangers of Abusing Fire

Image credit: Wellcome Collection

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This painting is based on a series of prints depicting the four elements: this one shows fire.

The Latin verses on the print explain the beneficial and dangerous effects of fire. The alchemist is warned by a young woman, probably Prudentia, not to waste his money on the 'fallacious art of alchemy', which deceives many. The alchemical equipment is from the sixteenth century, and includes a round alembic with outlets for steam.

Wellcome Collection



Prudentia Warns an Alchemist of the Dangers of Abusing Fire


oil on wood


H 39 x W 50 cm (E)

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased by Henry S. Wellcome, c.1900–1936

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Wellcome Collection

183 Euston Road, London, Greater London NW1 2BE England

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