Joseph Wright of Derby

A Moonlight with a Lighthouse, Coast of Tuscany

?exhibited 1789

Artist
Joseph Wright of Derby 1734–1797
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1016 x 1276 mm
frame: 1155 x 1440 x 95 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1949
Reference
N05882

Not on display

Display caption

When journeying to and from Rome, Wright had crossed much of mainland Italy but his acquaintance with districts beyond Rome would have been brief. Years later, this imagined scene gave Wright a context in which to compare the differing effects of natural and artifical light-sources that had so long fascinated him. Here, the luminosity of the moonlight in the night sky is contrasted with the hazy beam of the lighthouse and its reflection in the water. The looming dark mass of the cliff and portentous-looking rocks in the bottom left create a sense of melodrama.

Gallery label, August 2000

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