This is the domain of an alchemist; a scientist who is trying to make gold. He is stirring something in a bowl, while holding a reference book. The space is filled with strange kettles, stoves and glassware. The alchemist was a popular theme in Flemish painting of the sixteenth and seventeenth century. He symbolises the man who squanders his money on futile, trivial matters and is therefore reduced to beggary.
David Teniers the Younger (Antwerp 1610 - 1690 Brussels)
27.4 x 37.4 cm
lower right: D. Teniers: Fec
Prince William IV, exhibited at Het Loo Palace, Apeldoorn; by inheritance to Prince William V, The Hague, 1754-1795; confiscated by the French, transferred to the Muséum central des arts/Musée Napoléon (Musée du Louvre), Paris, 1795-1815; Royal Picture Gallery, housed in the Prince William V Gallery, The Hague, 1816; transferred to the Mauritshuis, 1822