Miravan - Joseph Wright. 127 x 101.6 cm
The English painter Joseph Wright drew from the work of his compatriot poet and writer John Cooper a terrible Gothic story about the greedy descendant of Miran.
The story spoke of a noble Arab of noble blood, who once again visited the tomb of his ancestor, where he saw an intriguing inscription saying that there are innumerable treasures in the grave. Unable to resist the temptation, Mirov orders his servants to break the tomb, but only the skeleton is found there. And the inscription inside the grave accusatory proclaims that now the greedy descendant will not have peace for the fact that he disturbed the deceased. It was this very peace that was that treasure, but the thirst for profit led Mira to great sin. The moral of history is clear and transparent: it is worthless to put the material above all other earthly goods. Cooper claimed that this was not a figment of his imagination, but a Persian legend. In fairness, I want to note that a similar story is described in Herodotus.
Wright very talentedly reflected the moment the grave was opened. Surprised servants look at the master, who, holding on to the wall, closed his eyes from despair. He was deceived! A rich tomb made of marble slabs reveals its inner component - the bare skeleton.
And again, the whole “plot” is decorated with lighting. A bright lamp illuminates the tomb, everything else is hidden in the night and can be guessed only due to the slightly noticeable light of the moon. Such a “roll call” of two luminaries, artificial and natural, was already encountered by Wright in his work “Pilgrim Studying Anatomy”. Both here and there are human bones.
In the year of its creation, mezzo-tinto was created from the painting. This type of engraving was the best suited for almost all Wright's paintings with their characteristic dark and light parts. Even during the life of the master, the picture migrated to the Derby Museum, where it is still exhibited.