WHYY: Age of Alchemy a "Must-See New Art Exhibit"

Smashed vessels, smoking beakers, celestial globes—the oil paintings on view at the Science History Institute’s Age of Alchemy are filled with arcane symbols, both campy and mysterious.

 

Excerpted from a WHYY article, by Jen Kinney.

Smashed vessels, smoking beakers, celestial globes—the oil paintings on view at the Science History Institute’s (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation) Age of Alchemy are filled with arcane symbols, both campy and mysterious. Alchemists toil in dim, cluttered laboratories, trying to harness the power of transmutation: the art of changing one material into another. Culled from the museum’s extensive collection of alchemical paintings, the new show shines a light on a period of scientific history that curator Elisabeth Berry Drago says can be inscrutable to the modern eye. Though they’re best known today for trying to turn lead to gold, alchemists were not would-be sorcerers. Berry Drago said we should remember them as forebears to science as we know it today.

“None of this disappeared,” she said, gesturing towards alchemists holding up beakers of urine. “It just became part of modern fields.”

Read the full article on WHYY.

Published

May 10, 2018