Tags for: Painting and Drawing Society Annual Meeting
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scholars surrounding a model of the galaxy

Joseph Wright of Derby, A Philosopher Giving a Lecture at the Orrery (in which a lamp is put in place of the sun), c. 1763-65, oil on canvas, 4' 10" x 6' 8" (Derby Museums and Art Gallery, Derby).

Painting and Drawing Society Annual Meeting

Wednesday, September 11, 2024, 5:00–9:00 p.m.
Location:  Private Dining Room
Banquet Room
Michael J. Horvitz Private Dining Room
Reservation Required

About The Event

The Painting and Drawing Society has its annual meeting where the group hears presentations from its board. The group then hears from Dr. Douglas Fordham, University of Virginia, as he discusses Joseph Wright of Derby’s Enlightenment. In the 1760s, Joseph Wright of Derby produced two astonishing exhibition paintings that crossed the polite conventions of the conversation piece with the ambition and scale of history painting. The first of these paintings, A Philosopher Giving that Lecture on the Orrery, in which a lamp is put in the place of the sun, provides a fascinating glimpse into what the intellectual historian Michael Sauter described as “the Spatial Reformation,” in which the division of heavens and earth came to be viewed within a single spatial regime. The second, An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, includes a demonstration in which an elderly scientist holds the fate of a cockatoo in his fingertips. These two representations of Enlightenment knowledge were equally about the power of painting in an increasingly secular age. These are icons of Enlightenment, we might say, seeking to invest painting with a mystery and power previously reserved for religious subjects. Following the program, enjoy dinner with fellow members in the museum’s banquet room.