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|Author: Joseph Wright of Derby|
|Landscape, Painting, Oil on canvas, 162.5x213 cm|
|Origin: Britain, 1779|
Joseph Wright was enthralled by the use of lighting efffects in painting, creating special mood and atmosphere in his canvases. He visited Rome in 1774-75 and was most impressed by the several firework displays held there each year, for instance during Holy Week and on the eve of the festival of SS Peter and Paul. These fireworks were set off from the roof of the Castel Sant'Angelo. In the autumn of 1774 he also set off to watch the volcano Vesuvius erupting. As a result he painted paired canvases of the fireworks and Vesuvius - as he put it, "the one is the greatest effect of Nature, the other of Art" - to contrast the theatrical and natural effects of fire. The purchase of these companion paintings by Catherine II in 1779 made her one of the first Europeans to recognize the importance of this then relatively unknown artist.
|Source of entry: acquired from the artist, 1779|
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