Monday, August 29, 2011

An Early Scientist

The Alchemist Sedziwoj and King Sigismund III (1867) by the Polish painter Jan Matejko (1838-1893).

Matejko depicted here the famous alchemist not as a charlatan but as a kind of early engineer and scientist, which he was. Because Sedziwoj constructed mines and foundries and did a lot of chemical experimentation.


  1. Alchemist, yes, but that title covered a lot of territory. I suppose it was hard to know where science ended and magic began. In any case, the painting shows people who really were fascinated by the natural science in front of them.

    It reminds me of Augustus II the Strong who wanted to discover the secret of manufacturing porcelain in Germany. In 1701 he rescued a young alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger and got him to work on new scientific experiements. It was brilliantly successful.

  2. I totally agree. There wasn't any frontier between sciene and magic. But because of that there was also a lot of fraud and deception. And I think Matejko presents here more the scientist, even though his audience is more fascinated by macic.