Gold-Making: Painting, Alchemy, and Virtuosity in Dutch Art

Friday, May 7, 2021 12pm–1pm

Join Elisabeth Berry Drago, Science History Institute “Gold-Making: Painting, Alchemy, and Virtuosity in Dutch Art”, lecture.Gold-Making: Painting, Alchemy, and Virtuosity in Dutch Art Both alchemy and art center on transformation of the natural world—observing, manipulating, and experimenting. But who was the true “master of nature”: the alchemist, who attempted to turn lead to gold? Or the painter, who changed lead and oil into masterful illusions? In the early modern Netherlands alchemy was ubiquitous, useful, and a subject of infinite curiosity and debate. This talk will explore the long, connected histories of art and alchemy, and the way Dutch and Flemish artists used chemistry and creativity to demonstrate their surpassing virtuosity. The lecture is followed by a discussion moderated by An Inner World co-curators Heather Moqtaderi and Lara Yeager-Crasselt, Curator, The Leiden Collection, New York

Elisabeth Berry Drago, Ph.D.

Elisabeth Berry Drago is a Research Curator at the Science History Institute and a co-host of the Institute’s podcast on the odd and fascinating histories of science, Distillations. She holds a PhD in art history from the University of Delaware, specializing in the representation of science and artisanal work, the history of the print, and artistic identity-making. Her most recent book, Painted Alchemists (2018) is the first on the painter Thomas Wijck (1616–1677), whose pictures of alchemists in the laboratory offer new perspectives on early modern science and artistry.