Flemish follower of Pieter Brueghel I, 2nd half 16th century
The workshop of an alchemist
Oil on panel : 81,8 X 113,2 cm
Unsigned, after 1558
Frame : 100,3 X 131,7 cm
The subject of our satirical painting is the folly of the alchemist. With his futile experiments to turn a base metal (lead) into a noble metal (gold) he drops his family into extreme poverty.
Our composition is based on an engraving made after a drawing by Pieter Brueghel the Elder from 1558. I know of only two other good versions of this composition, and also a few weaker, younger ones.