This print, after a painting by Martin Schmidt, captures the moment when an alchemist lowers a live scorpion into a steaming crucible. Billowing smoke from the fire rises around him as he performs this portion of the experiment. The alchemist is dressed in simple, plain clothes and a heavy apron, topped with a high round cap. He holds a pair of tongs and stands before a mortar and pestle resting on the edge of the furnace. Scorpions and other poisonous creatures were occasionally included in early modern experiments, whether alchemical, medicinal, or occult—their poisonous nature was believed to hold unique and valuable properties.
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