The inquisitive amateur chemist does not appear unduly worried about whether or not the glass vessel will survive the gas escaping noisily from its spout. The next moment will decide the fate of the closet alchemist playing with the elements in the privacy of his garret. The painting is a side swipe at serious science. Who is to say that the courageous investigator in his housecoat might not, in fact, end up with better results than academic scientists? The framing of the scene, the interior and tonal palette are influenced by Rembrandt, whose work Spitzweg studied closely.