barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham


William Pether (1738-about 1821), after Joseph Wright (1734-1797)

Three Persons Viewing The Gladiator by Candlelight

London, 1769

Mezzotint

 

This print reproduces Wright’s first exhibited painting, shown in 1765. The Gladiator was a famous antique statue, admired for its truthful rendering of anatomy, and it was well known in Britain from numerous copies and casts. The three men study the statue, lit dramatically by candlelight. The figure to the right, thought to be the artist himself, holds up his own drawing. The print therefore replicates a painting which contains a drawing of a sculpture which is, in turn, is a copy many times over. The mezzotint process produced deep tones and rich contrasts which are particularly suited to Wright’s candlelit scenes 

Purchased from Colnaghi’s, January 1957 (Inv. No. 57.3)

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