Wright is one of the first artists to really male an impact on me and at a recent talk on his time in Bath, I met several people who became lovers of painting because of him, and also because there aren’t a lot of famous people from the area.
And yet several people spoke of how old fashioned he was, that his pictures such as “An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump’ is not very original, but It glows with light and shows not just how animals need air to live, but also the dramatic effect it had on its audience. It is wonderful, and there is nothing like it.
Likewise, the pieces he is perhaps most famous for are the scenes of Mt Vesuvius, one of which was bought by Cathrine the Great who knew her art. Other people had painted this and the fireworks at the vatican, so he was again unoriginal.
They also criticised him for doing a lot of different subjects, a criticism often levelled at another of my great loves, John Steinbeck, and I think this is another sign of greatness, that he keeps pushing himself, trying out new things. I also like the fact that he is the only British artist who used metal such as gold leaf.Because the Dutch artist Gerrit Dou did this was said to be another sign of his lack of originality. I wished I could bring Wright back from the dead to shout at them but he’s probably already spinning in his grave so needs a rest.