Brown Bag Lecture: “Thomas Wijck’s Painted Alchemists at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Practice”

Brown Bag Lecture icon
Date: November 5, 2013
Time: 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Event Type: Open to the Public
Fee: Free
RSVP Online: No Registration Required

A talk by Elisabeth Berry-Drago

Dutch images of alchemists in the laboratory have long been overlooked by art historians as moralizing satires catering to a disbelieving audience. This project examines afresh the alchemical pictures of Thomas Wijck (1616–1677), seeking to understand how artistry and alchemy met and merged in the early modern studio and laboratory. In addition to iconographical and historical concerns, emphasis is placed on Wijck’s paintings as transformative objects produced in a studio-workshop: raw materials, pigments, and chemical processes will shed light on the practices of painters and their role in a greater “Golden Age” of discovery.

Elisabeth Berry Drago is a Ph.D candidate in art history, specializing in 17th-century Netherlands. Her dissertation centers on the painter Thomas Wijck (1616–1677), whose pictures of alchemists in the laboratory offer new perspectives on early modern science and artistry. Elisabeth received her M.A. in art history from Temple University in 2010 and holds a B.A. in fine arts from SUNY Fredonia. In her free time she enjoys volunteering with the Fleisher Art Memorial, a community arts organization, and the Free Library of Philadelphia, teaching youth workshops in painting and drawing, comics, and picture-book illustration.

About Brown Bag Lectures

Brown Bag Lectures (BBLs) are a series of weekly informal talks on the history of chemistry or related subjects, including the history and social studies of science, technology, and medicine. Based on original research (sometimes still in progress), these talks are given by local scholars for an audience of CHF staff and fellows and interested members of the public.

For more information, please call 215.873.8289 or e-mail

Register for an event link

Need Meeting Space?

CHF’s state-of-the-art conference center is in Philadelphia’s beautiful historic district.

Brown Bag Lecture Series

Enjoy a bring-your-own brown-bag lunch while listening to CHF scholars share their research.

Fellowships at CHF

CHF’s scholars, who spend anywhere from one to nine months in residence, form a vital part of CHF’s intellectual life.

Support CHF

Help us preserve and share the history of chemistry and related sciences. Make a tax-deductible tax-deductible gift online.