Joseph Wright of Derby

18th-century English painter / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Joseph Wright ARA (3 September 1734 – 29 August 1797), styled Joseph Wright of Derby, was an English landscape and portrait painter. He has been acclaimed as "the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution".[1]

Quick facts: Joseph Wright, Born, Died, Resting place, Nat...
Joseph Wright
Self-portrait ca. 1780, oil on canvas,
in the Yale Center for British Art
Born(1734-09-03)3 September 1734
Derby, England
Died29 August 1797(1797-08-29) (aged 62)
Derby, England
Resting placeSt Alkmund's Church, Derby
Other namesWright of Derby
WorksAn Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump
Ann Swift
(m. 1773; died 1790)

Wright is notable for his use of tenebrism, an exaggerated form of the better known chiaroscuro effect, which emphasizes the contrast of light and dark, and for his paintings of candle-lit subjects. His paintings of the birth of science out of alchemy, often based on the meetings of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, a group of 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.

Many of Wright's paintings and drawings are owned by Derby City Council, and are on display at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery.[2]