CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Science History Institute


The Science History Institute’s fine-art collection contains more than 500 works of art ranging from oil paintings to engravings to mixed media. Its holdings include captivating and even comical scenes of alchemists and chemists, satirical caricatures of early medical practitioners, and modern depictions of the chemical industry, among other artworks.

Age of Alchemy

The current exhibition, Age of Alchemy, explores European paintings of chemistry and alchemy from the 17th through the 19th century. For many, alchemy conjures up images of mysticism or a fool’s quest for gold. But alchemy’s golden age was much more. In this era of experimental discovery and practical skill, physicians and chymists worked to heal the human body. They studied the secrets of the natural world. These men and women ushered in change, creativity, and scientific inquiry. We invite you to step into the real Age of Alchemy.

 Age of Alchemy is part of a series of alchemically inspired projects and events at the Science History Institute; this includes the ongoing development of an immersive video game set inside an early modern laboratory, funded by a Prototype Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and produced in partnership with the Drexel University Entrepreneurial Game Studio.

The exhibition was curated by Elisabeth Berry Drago and will run through August of 2020.

Mattheus van Helmont (ca. 1623-1679), The Alchemist, ca. 1650-80
Chemical Heritage Foundation