Josepf Wright Of Derby Paintings

Joseph Wright, known as Joseph Wright of Derby, was an English landscape and portrait painter who has been acclaimed as the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution. Born on September 3, 1734, in Derby, England, Wright is renowned for his use of chiaroscuro effect, which emphasizes the contrast of light and dark, and for his paintings which feature scientific subjects. Wright's works reflect the enlightenment period in which he lived, often depicting moments of discovery and scientific inquiry.

Wright was trained as a portrait painter in London, under the tutelage of Thomas Hudson, who was also the teacher of other notable artists like Joshua Reynolds. After his training, he returned to Derby where he spent most of his career, although he also traveled to Italy to study light and color from 1773 to 1775. His experiences in Italy had a significant influence on his style and subject matter.

One of Wright's most famous paintings is 'An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump' (1768), which captures a natural philosopher demonstrating a vacuum pump. Another well-known work is 'The Alchemist Discovering Phosphorus' (1771), which showcases a moment of scientific discovery. Wright's interest in science and industry is also evident in his paintings of factories and other industrial scenes from the time.

Wright's art is characterized by dramatic lighting and a realistic portrayal of his subjects, which often include intense expressions and a strong sense of narrative. He was not just a painter but also an intellectual, actively involved in the intellectual and cultural circles of Derby, which included leading industrialists and scientists.

Despite his considerable talent, Wright's work was somewhat overlooked during his lifetime, especially in comparison to his contemporaries. However, he is now recognized as a key figure in the transition from Rococo to Romanticism and for his unique and forward-thinking representation of the industrial age. Wright passed away on August 29, 1797, in Derby, leaving behind a legacy that has grown in appreciation over time and continues to be studied for its historical and artistic significance.