A presentation by Elisabeth Berry-Drago
Date: Friday, January 31st
Presented by Phantasmaphile
Dutch images of alchemists in the laboratory have long been overlooked by art historians as moralizing satires catering to a disbelieving audience. This project examines afresh the alchemical pictures of Thomas Wijck (1616–1677), seeking to understand how artistry and alchemy met and merged in the early modern studio and laboratory. In addition to iconographical and historical concerns, emphasis is placed on Wijck’s paintings as transformative objects produced in a studio-workshop: raw materials, pigments, and chemical processes will shed light on the practices of painters and their role in a greater “Golden Age” of discovery.
Elisabeth Berry Drago is a Ph.D candidate in art history, specializing in 17th-century Netherlands. Her dissertation centers on the painter Thomas Wijck (1616–1677), whose pictures of alchemists in the laboratory offer new perspectives on early modern science and artistry. Elisabeth received her M.A. in art history from Temple University in 2010 and holds a B.A. in fine arts from SUNY Fredonia. In her free time she enjoys volunteering with the Fleisher Art Memorial, a community arts organization, and the Free Library of Philadelphia, teaching youth workshops in painting and drawing, comics, and picture-book illustration.