TENIERS, David the Elder
(b. 1582, Antwerpen, d. 1649, Antwerpen)
Oil on canvas, 44 x 58 cm
Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence
Best known as the process by which lead could be turned into gold, alchemy was originally an esoteric system of gradual spiritual purification. from the Middle Ages on, it provided metaphors to poetry, symbolism to the visual arts, and an early form of experimental science.