Joseph Wright is known with his pseudonym Wright of Derby. He lives in that town of the East Midlands but knows Darwin very well. This young artist enthusiastic of the new Enlightenment paints scenes of scientific experiments in a chiaroscuro style.
At the same time English artists gather in more or less formal clubs to better sell their art through exhibitions. Wright of Derby is a member of the Society of Artists of Great Britain. Keen to preserve his freedom of style and theme, he refuses to join the secessionists who create the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768.
On December 6 in London, Sotheby's sells An Academy by Lamplight, oil on canvas 127 x 102 cm painted in 1769 by Wright of Derby, lot 11 estimated £ 2.5M.
A group of boys is busy drawing the image of an antique marble placed above them on a piece of furniture or a pedestal. Depending on their age they are more or less captivated by this figure of the famous Borghese Nymph, in a freedom of action that they would definitely not have under the dogmatic teaching of the friends of Reynolds.
This night scene is illuminated by the warm light of a candle out of the field that gives to the marble a hue of flesh. The life size statue takes part in the atmosphere and the fascination that it exerts on one of the oldest boys demonstrates the link between art and life.
Please watch the animation shared by Sotheby's.
SOLD for £ 7.3M including premium