Painted Stories in Britain 5: Joseph Wright, the enlightened artist

At the museum in Derby you get a tremendous feel for the energy of the Industrial Revolution. An inquisitive and explorative spirit.

The Eclectic Light Company

William Hogarth’s death in 1764 brought to an end a new tradition of narrative painting in British art, which had started with James Thornhill (1675–1734) in the early years of that century. Although a few British painters in the middle of the eighteenth century made the occasional narrative work, those appear to have been almost accidental, and years passed before another British artist set out to tell stories in paint.

The next painter also doesn’t appear to have made any conscious decision to tell stories, but became fascinated by contemporary science and chiaroscuro light. As a portraitist and painter of landscapes, Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797) at his best was a match for his more famous contemporary Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788), but Wright also painted very differently when he chose to.

jwrightviewinggladiator Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797), Three Persons Viewing the Gladiator by Candlelight (1765), oil on canvas, 101.6 x 121.9 cm…

View original post 1,479 more words

By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.