These two paintings demonstrate a fascination with the power of science to promote human progress and knowledge during the Age of Enlightenment. They are both by Joseph Wright of Derby who was a prominent English painter during this period. There are many art history sites that give detailed analysis of these paintings as well as establishing their historical and philosophical context. They show the use of high art to explore new subject matter, showing how science was the conduit to discovery and knowledge. Both paintings would work well as related texts either for AOS or Extension 1 Romanticism. They reflect the aesthetic attitudes, values and concerns of their era of composition and epitomise the ways of thinking and conceptual underpinnings of the yearning to test boundaries and explore the unknown.
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