The Alchemist by Pieter Brueghel the Elder. This fine etching presents the alchemist quest as vain and futile. The alchemist is hunched over his work and surrounded by a multitude of instruments in his makeshift laboratory.
The Alchemist is aided by the scholar, who is reads a text "Al Ghemist", meaning "All is lost". The alchemist's wife watches as he throws their last gold coin into the crucible as she searches in vain through her flat purse.