An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby

In Conversation with Ourselves: Wright of Derby’s “Air Pump” as a Modern Moral Subject

Date: 
Wed., Mar. 9, 2022
7:30 p.m.–9 p.m.
Category: 
Lectures
Location: 
Rothenberg Hall
Event Notes: 
Free with reservation
Add to Calendar 03/09/2022 07:30 PM 03/09/2022 09:00 PM America/Los_Angeles In Conversation with Ourselves: Wright of Derby’s “Air Pump” as a Modern Moral Subject Visit page - https://www.huntington.org/events/conversation-with-ourselves The Huntington - Rothenberg Hall
 

In this in-person lecture, renowned art historian David Solkin will show how Joseph Wright of Derby constructed conflicting messages out of an eclectic mix of elements drawn from different pictorial traditions in An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump and will ask us to consider the artwork’s relevance today. When Air Pump made its public debut in 1768, visitors to the Society of Artists exhibition in London were given the novel opportunity to confront a dramatic glimpse of their own world depicted on the scale of life. Enlightened, affluent, and emphatically contemporary, the genteel company surrounding Wright’s scientific lecturer embodied the virtues of sociability and sensibility—qualities that a host of 18th-century commentators proudly hailed as the crowning glories of a modern commercial society. But if the Air Pump held up a flattering mirror to its original audience, it also registered the presence of a dissenting body of opinion, one long-dedicated to highlighting the dangers that the progress of commerce posed to personal and collective morality.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required at indoor events at The Huntington. By attending this event, you attest and agree to provide proof of full vaccination. Masks are required indoors, and recommended outdoors, per Los Angeles County’s current COVID-19 safety protocols.

This event will be recorded.