Joseph Wright of Derby / Cottage on Fire / 1786 - 1787Joseph Wright of Derby
Cottage on Fire
1786 - 1787

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Creator Name: Wright of Derby, Joseph
Creator Nationality: European; British; English
Creator Role: painter
Creator Dates/Places: 1734 - 1797
Gender: M
Creator Name-CRT: Joseph Wright of Derby
Title: Cottage on Fire
View: front
Creation Start Date: 1786
Creation End Date: 1787
Creation Date: 1786 - 1787
Object Type: Paintings
Classification Term: oil on canvas
Materials and Techniques: oil on canvas
Dimensions: H.22-7/8 x W.30 in.
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 84.53
Credit Line: The Putnam Dana McMillan Fund and Bequest of Lillian Malcolm Larkin, by exchange

This nocturnal scene features dramatic contrasts: the hot red light of the fire versus the cool white moonlight, the cottage abruptly consumed by flames as opposed to the slowly decaying castle. Unusual light effects fascinated Joseph Wright, who knew several prominent English scientists investigating the nature of light and vision. After a trip to Italy in 1773-75, where he witnessed a violent eruption of Mount Vesuvius and a spectacular fireworks display at the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome, Wright made sensational lighting effects the keynote of many of his landscapes.

Wright's work prefigured trends in Romantic landscape painting a generation later: themes of tragic destruction would become popular in the 19th century in both England and France. At the same time, this picture reveals its kinship with the decorative landscape styles of the 18th century, seen in its gracefully curving trees, flickering highlights, and simplified coloring.

Acquired in 1984 84.53

AMICA ID: MIA_.84.53
Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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