This print, after a painting by Adriaen van Ostade, shows a humble peasant-alchemist at work before a furnace. Working with a pair of hand bellows—the source of the alchemists' mocking nickname, "puffer,"— the alchemist heats a crucible on a bed of coals. He is plainly dressed in ragged clothes and a heavy apron, surrounded by the remains of broken vessels, tongs and firewood, and a single tattered book. In the background, the alchemist's children play in the mess, while his wife wipes the bottom of a baby—a punning joke on "alchemist" making use of the Dutch phrase "al gemist," or "all is waste."
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