November 03, 2008

The Alchymist.


This picture was featured in one of our scientific catalogues at work. I liked it so much, that I decided to order a reprint of the painting and placed it on the wall just above my desk at home. It is called "The Alchymist" and it is painted by an English landscape and portrait artist, Joseph Wright of Derby, around 1771. I love the way he managed to capture the feeling of expectation and marvel that every scientist can recognize. The sensation that overcomes one just before getting a result or performing an experiment.
The piece is actually called The Alchymist in Search of the Philosopher's Stone and illustrates the moment of discovery of the element phosphorus by German alchemist Hennig Brand in 1669.
I love the atmosphere, the play on light and dark, creating a mysterious setting. I can see the painting every time I sit at my desk and almost always settle my eyes on it for more than a moment, as it reminds me of mankind’s curiosity and the never-ending pursuit of progress.

9 comments:

Diane said...

I feel that way every time I open the oven to take out something I've cooked. Then my expression changes... usually to one of revulsion... horror... disgust... what smells in here? ;)

Great post, as always. I do love the way you think!

Protege said...

Diane, you make me laugh every time! Your sense of humour is very refreshing.;)
I am sure you are a great cook, unlike me.:P
Thank you for this wonderful comment.

Holly said...

I love that you are passionate about art!! This piece speaks to you more then most because it relates to those things that you hold dearest, but I can sense your passion about art in general.
I enjoy art too. I love that an image can literally take your breath away at the very first impression.

That is a beautiful painting!

Protege said...

Holly, I loved the way you described in your recent post the fact, that you make the connection between the artist and his/hers art. I like to view a piece that way as well.
Yes, I love art; I love creating it and enjoy looking at it or experience it in other ways as well.:))

Hilary said...

Yes, it's a beauty, alright. My mind tends to separate art and science as two distinct parts of a continuum - not exactly opposites, but quite unconnected. This painting combines the two beautifully.. as do you.

Protege said...

Hilary, you are always so kind to me in your comments.
I have always felt that creativity, vivid imagination and an ability to visualize things are of a great advantage in my work in the scientific environment.
Indeed, the best scientists are great artists as well (not that I am either;).

Mel said...

The light and shadows in the painting are amazing. I love how bright the hosphorescence brightens his face!

Mel said...

or the phosphorescence! ;)

Protege said...

Yes, I agree; it is wonderful how that emphasises the expression on his face.:)