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Born in Derby, England to a privileged upper-class family in 1734, Joseph Wright studied fine art in London and established himself as a portraitist by his the time he reached his mid 30s. Eventually transitioning towards landscape painting, Wright became known for his use of tenebrism-strong contrasts of light and shadow. This technique was famously developed during the renaissance by the old masters and exemplified by Caravaggio and Rembrandt. This painting shows the effect in the stark division between the dark form of the landmass and the light of the erupting volcano. The red of the volcano and the cooler yellow of the moonlight were doubtless influenced by Wright's interest in alchemy and his membership in the Lunar Society. This group of Birmingham intellectuals included such 18th century luminaries as Benjamin Franklin and Joseph Priestly. 
Wright finished this painting later in life during a time of increasing social change. The progress of the Industrial revolution threatened to overturn the social order that had seen him develop and prosper as an artist. At the same time, the French enlightenment was leading to the championing of science over religion, and the religious rule of Monarchy. In the years that followed, that great mechanical innovation which was the guillotine would be put to use in France, and the world would never be same. Maybe a foreboding of these events was on his mind when Wright painted the red clouds and fire reflecting in the calm moonlit sea.

• Ayous wood .75″ (1.9 cm) thick frame from renewable forests
• Paper thickness: 10.3 mil (0.26 mm)
• Paper weight: 5.57 oz/y² (189 g/m²)
• Lightweight
• Acrylite front protector
• Hanging hardware included
• Blank product components in the US sourced from Japan and the US
• Blank product components in the EU sourced from Japan and Latvia

Joseph Wright of Derby "Vesuvius from Posillipo" (1788) Framed poster

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