Joseph Wright of Derby in Liverpool (Yale Center for British Art S) (英語) ハードカバー – 2008/2/28
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In 1768 Joseph Wright left his native city of Derby and moved to Liverpool in search of recognition and success. Earlier the same year he had exhibited the masterly Experiment on a Bird in the Air-Pump to great acclaim in London, but he failed to sell the picture, and he would shortly be excluded from the Royal Academy. Liverpool offered him the opportunity to engage with wealthy clients who had little experience of art patronage. Wright painted portraits of the prosperous merchants and their families, and continued to develop the brilliantly illuminated subject paintings on which his reputation chiefly rests. This beautifully illustrated book examines Wright's remarkable impact on the artistic climate of the city of Liverpool, on its cultural institutions and on the other artists working there.
Elizabeth E. Barker is Director of the Picker Art Gallery, Colgate University, New York. Alex Kidson is Curator of British paintings at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.
Joseph Wright of Derby In Liverpool, (1734-1797), like many of the Russian, Spanish and Italian Impressionists, among many casual art lovers, is an almost unknown painter in the USA.
Wright, followed the stream of British painters, studying under The portraist Thomas Hudson. A bit later, in trying to break free to find his own way, he picked up the threads of Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Diego Velazquez, Guercino, Strozzi, Van Dyck, Jordaens, Rubens, Georges de La Tour, Le Nain, Perhaps even Liss, but also nearer contemporaries, Gainsborough, and of course, as earlier the he was attracted Dutch Cararavagists from Van Hornthrost to Terbrugghen and then on to Italy. There he began experimenting with technology, using candles, then back to England to study in foundries, factories where he captured the birth and growth of the Industrial Revolution. He did this perfecting his artificial light sources, using said candles, fireplaces, and metal furnace fires. Following that he picked up upon Shakespearian subjects, "and also some seascapes of Liverpool, and some landscapes there and near London and also Derby, Italy and elsewhere in his travels, in which, he filled notebooks with pen and ink sketches, etchings and watercolors."
But most of all, when ones views his work, it immediately brings to mind a modern (then) Caravaggio. The book itself is filled with the Chiaroscuro images of large paintings, where powerfully built figures emerge from the darkness that surrounds them like Michelangelo's sculptures arise from the marble prison from which he freed them (Michelangelo's words).
If you liked any of the artists I mentioned above, and especially if you like Caravaggio, modernized to the 18th century, you will love Wright.
My single Criticism is that there are precious few of his large non-portrait paintings reproduced as full page images and there are far too many small color reproductions of his contemporaries. For example: "An History, Miravan, a Young Nobleman of In, Breaking Open a Tomb of His Ancestors", on page 115 the 50" x 40" painting is reproduced: at only 5.3" x 4.3" on a page 9.3" x 11.25, and on the same size page one of his greatest paintings, "An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump", a 72 x 96" painting is reproduced at 5.25" x 4". There are at least several paintings which deserved larger reproductions, which were downsized to make room for text. This is the difference between making a book for academics (Which I am) and one for artists (Which I am also) artists prefer that if one thing has to suffer, it is the text rather than the reproductions. Well at least there were no split double page monstrosities in this book.
I give the book 5 stars for brilliant reproductions with a clarity seldom seen and then only in the finest art coffee table books, for which this book most certainly qualifies, but 4 stars for not making more full page reproductions of his multi-figure, excellent, synthetic light paintings. It still ends up rounding out to 5 stars but is actually 4.50 stars overall.