Ryckaert produced a number of pictures in the 1640s that took alchemy as their theme. This work relates closely to a picture dated 1648 in the collection of Alfred Bader (see the catalogue of the exhibition, Wisdom, Knowledge and Magic, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada, 25 October 1996-13 April 1997, pp. 84-5, no. 35) and to a picture in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, inv. no. 1649. In all three, an alchemist is depicted alone in a candlelit interior, before a laden table with an open door revealing a moonlit sky outside.