Joseph Wright Of Derby Biography | Oil Painting Reproductions
9-3-1734 Irongate, ENG - 8-29-1797 Derby, ENGBack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
Known as Joseph Wright of Derby because he spent his entire life in that town, Joseph Wright of Derby was the first English painter of any significance to work in the provinces. Although even he had to go to London for his formal art education.
He established his own studio, where he flourished as a portraitist, and it was as a result of his contact with the rising industrialists of the 1760s and 1770s, such as Richard Arkwright, regarded as the creator of the factory system in the cotton industry and Josiah Wedgwood (whose portrait he painted) credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery, that his career changed direction quite dramatically. Joseph Wright of Derby is notable for his use of Chiaroscuro effect, which emphasizes the contrast of light and dark, and for his paintings of candle-lit subjects.
The Artist of the Industrial Revolution.
His paintings of the birth of science out of alchemy, often based on the meetings of the Lunar Society, a group of very influential scientists and industrialists living in the English Midlands, are a significant record of the struggle of science against religious values in the period known as the Age of Enlightenment. The Enlightenment, in art, cannot be considered a unified international art movement, but a response that was consistent with local cultural developments in a certain area during a particular age. Yet, some aspects shared similarities, as there was a general interest in science and social morality.
Joseph Wright of Derby, in fact, was the artist of the Industrial Revolution, the right man in the right place at the right time, and it is for his spectacular canvasses depicting the wonders of modern science and technology in their infancy that he is remembered. His attention to the details of machinery was matched by his uncanny mastery of artificial lighting, which he used to good effect. An Experiment On A Bird In An Air Pump, influenced by Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson Of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, the painter focuses on the curious and fearful expressions of the public, thus adding a pleasant touch of irony. In fact, the scientist resembles a diabolical magician.
Art Movement History: Romanticism
Artists Influencing Joseph Wright: Gerrit van Honthorst, Thomas Hudson
He Traveled To Italy, France