Wright of Derby (Joseph Wright, 1734-1797)

A Philosophers lesson

ca 1766

Oil painting


This english painter, a trained portretist. was specialized in contrasting natural scenes with the hypermodern advances of industry and technology at the time. Here we see the influence of Newtonian philosphy on man expressed in a gathering of people around a model of the universe to be explained by a teacher of knowledge, the philosopher. More and more in the eighteenth century mankind became impressed by the mechanical properties of the universe and our capacity to deal with it mathematically. In fact mankind standing at the craddle of modern science is depicted here under the flag of what the philospher Hume declared: that no real knowledge would be possible from things outside our experience. To this one at the time was quite unaware of the dangers of mechanical time itself: that we derive from fixations and not from the dynamic reality of time and that thus we would fall into the schizoid of a culture estranged from natural timing and the classical concept of God in this form.





© Time Art Gallery/hall 3