Look Closely at Joseph Wright of Derby's 'an Academy by Lamplight'. Write a Close Analysis of This Painting. Pay Particular Attention to the Compostition and Comment on Any Features You Consider Important.

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Joseph Wright's painting shows a classical statue surrounded by a number of male artists of various ages sitting and standing. Three are busy working on their pieces whilst the remaining three stand with a look of thoughfulness about them. The man on the far left of the paintin appears to be gazing into the statue's eyes with a very peaceful, almost mesmerized expression on his face. The fact that this painting is set in an academy, indicates that an artistic education was a valuable thing, and the statues being studied shows that the value of classical study during the mid to late eighteenth century. The statue is the main focal point of the painting with the light shining down on her from a lamp behind the draped curtains we see at the top left. The shadow on the neck of the statue really helps to draw attention to her face which is lit up. Everything within the painting appears central to the arched ceiling two pillars set back within the painting. We can see a male statue in the shadows ast the pillar on the right but that is all that we can see, the rest is cast in darkness. The two pillars which are set back create a sense of distance from the viewer. The pillar in the very foreground on the right of the painting again creates a sense of depth and gives the impression that as a viewer we are stood near this pillar looking in on the scene. the expression on the two men's faces who are stood on the left side of the painting, and that of the statue, all look very thoughtful. This added with the arches, creates an impression of softness. The colours used are quite subdued reflecting the fact that the lamp light was the only source of light. Although much of the picture is quite dull, the use of reddish browns and the man sat in red at the front of the painting gives a feeling of warmth. The man standing near to the statue has a folder of artwork in his hand, the green of which contrasts against the other colours used, drawing the viewer's eye to him....
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