Transcending Generations: Analyzing Joseph Wright's Artistry

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Joseph Wright in An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump says humanity looks to the future generation to change, for the better, by learning from the past’s teachings. In Joseph Wright’s painting he shows many different characters but the second most eye drawing person is the man performing the experiment. This old man is looking straight into the eyes of the audience of the painting. With raised eyebrows and a questioning face he seems to be waiting for the response of the audience. Since this man is in the Enlightenment Age he is in the past and is looking to the future to answer his question. He gathered all these people to watch the experiment yet only one of them is actually looking. However, the old man is not the most important character within this painting for that …show more content…

Next to the woman covering her eyes sits another old man staring at the candle with his glasses off. He seems to be in deep thought about the experiment showing that there were people who believed and wanted to better science. The light source is set in the center of the painting drawing attention to the center of the painting, the little girl, and the air pump. Yet the candle is not the only source of light; in the window surrounded by clouds is the moon which slightly shines on the person opening the blinds. The light in this painting represents the progress being made within this scientific investigation. Just as the door behind the old man, performing the examination, is dark and symbolizes the past the light in the painting personifies the progress the future is making, the future in this case being the painting’s present. The experiment is being done all too educate the younger generation and build a better knowledge of science for the future. The old man is asking a question to the audience; perhaps he’s asking what the future will do with the new information and how will they use it to better the

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