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Vesuvius in Eruption, with a View over the Islands in the Bay of Naples

Joseph Wright of DerbyAround 1776

Tate Britain

Tate Britain

Wright emphasises the drama of the erupting Vesuvius through contrasts: between the tranquillity of the sea and the violence of the volcano, the cool light reflected from the moon and clouds with the hellish spewing of fire and lava. In comparison to the volatile power of the volcano, the tiny foreground figures stress man's insignificance before the sublime grandeur of nature. Wright did not witness the eruption of Vesuvius in 1777, but it clearly spurred his imagination. He returned repeatedly to the subject, and produced over thirty views of the volcano.

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Details

  • Title: Vesuvius in Eruption, with a View over the Islands in the Bay of Naples
  • Creator: Joseph Wright
  • Date Created: Around 1776
  • Provenance: Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, Friends of the Tate Gallery, and Mr John Ritblat 1990
  • Physical Dimensions: w1764 x h122 mm
  • Original Title: Vesuvius in Eruption, with a View over the Islands in the Bay of Naples
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on Canvas

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