The philosopher explaining the model of the solar system is Joseph Wright. 147 x 203 cm
Surprise, awe, delight - these emotions before Joseph Wright could be depicted only in religious paintings or canvases dedicated to some famous mythological plot. The English artist breaks this tradition. His heroes tend to admire scientific progress, new knowledge, unexpected discoveries. Like in the picture “Philosopher Explaining the Model of the Solar System”.
In the center of the canvas is an unusual design, designed to schematically depict the solar system with a bright luminary in the middle. The main star is presented in the form of a bright lamp. It is the light of the lamp that gives this magical sparkle, which makes the faces of the characters more contrasting, and the atmosphere is more mysterious. And the faces of the heroes are like phases of the moon - some viewers are fully illuminated, representing the full moon, others are half as crescents, others are completely hidden in the dark like a new moon in the sky. Very curious and easy to read allegory!
Written in 1766, Wright's painting caused controversy. And the point is not even in the "progressive" plot in the style of the Enlightenment - the master encroached on the generally accepted genre hierarchy. Portrait as a genre was for artists on the top lines of the "hit parade" after religious and mythological paintings, therefore, the portrait had to correspond to some canons. Wright presented a group portrait (and this picture, of course, can be viewed in this way) in an informal form, which was very unusual and even revolutionary for that time.
It is believed that the picture was not painted to order, but with a specific customer in mind - Count Ferrers owned a similar model of the Solar System and was supposedly interested in the canvas. Moreover, some researchers claim that Ferrers is shown in the picture next to his son. The calculation was justified, the count bought the canvas, but the next representative of his kind sold the Philosopher.
Today, the location of the picture is quite in line with Wright's plan - it is in the Derby Gallery, right next to the working model of the Solar System. Wright would certainly be pleased.