An exhibition in the German city of Dusseldorf (which will end on August 10), wants represent alchemy and the influence that this extinct discipline has had on art throughout history. The exhibition, which will feature 250 works ranging from Antiquity to the contemporary era, will be located at the Museo Palacio de Arte (Museum Kunstpalast).
A long series of artists will be represented, among which we can include Rubens, Rembrandt, Brueghel, Joseph Beuys, Lucas Cranch, Rebecca Horn, Max Ernst, Anish Kapoor, Hendrick Goltzius, Sigmar Polke, Yves Klein, and David Teniers.
AlchemyThe false science that somewhat preceded chemistry was popular well into the eighteenth century. This is why the exhibition is divided into two parts: one covers the period prior to the Renaissance, especially the 16th and 17th centuries, and the other covers the entire period afterwards.
In the pre-Renaissance periodBoth alchemists and artists claimed that they could improve nature, not just imitate it. This created a certain rivalry between the two camps, which was captured in a painting by the Dutch artist Adrián van Ostade. In it you can see an alchemist in his laboratory, after failing in his attempt to produce gold.
But not all the paintings in the exhibition paint alchemy badly. On the bright side we have portraits of Rubens, allegorical paintings of Brueghel and three copies of "Splendor Solis”, The best known of the alchemy manuscripts. Furthermore, for the first time in Europe, a Newton's manuscript. Yes, Newton also believed in alchemy.
Regarding the modern section of the exhibition, it begins with the Surrealism. Among the works we can find "The creation of the birds", from Varus remedies, Y "Chemical wedding", from Max ernst. There will also be a series of sculptures and drawings by Joseph Beuys, accompanied by photos and video about his work.
The exhibition is a collaboration of the Palacio de Arte Museum with the research group “Art and Knowledge in Pre-modern Europe”, From the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Experts from the Chemical Heritage Foundation, in Philadelphia, have also participated, who have donated several works (among them Newton's manuscript).
Finally, the museum has installed a study for children, following the theme of “The Alchemy of Color”. Young people will be able to explore the different aspects of colors and their creation.