Bid to keep painting by famous candlelight artist in Britain
LONDON, May 1 (Xinhua) -- A painting by a British artist famed for using candlelight to illuminate his subjects is destined to be exported to an overseas buyer.
Michael Ellis, parliamentary under secretary of state for arts, heritage and tourism, stepped in Tuesday to prevent the painting, An Academy by Lamplight, by Joseph Wright, from leaving Britain.
Ellis has placed a temporary export bar on the work by the 18th century artist in the hope that a British buyer will match the current asking price of just over 10.2 million U.S. dollars.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said An Academy by Lamplight is one of the most ambitious and earliest paintings by Wright (1734 - 1797), one of the most distinctive and gifted British painters of the eighteenth century.
Nicknamed the "Painter of Light" for the candle lit scenes he produced early in his career, Wright's works record the struggles of the development of science against traditional religious values during the age of enlightenment.
An Academy in Lamplight was probably completed in 1769 and is generally considered to be the the first of two versions of this subject. A sister painting is now held at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, the United States.
Ellis said: Wright is one of the most preeminent painters of the Age of Enlightenment. His works help us to better understand the mix of religion and science in this period of huge industrial development. I hope that a buyer can be found to keep this extraordinary painting in the country so that it can be enjoyed by future generations."
In the painting Wright captured the varied responses of boys and youths to a female statue, typically bathed in light. Arts experts said accurate observation and recording was an essential life skill, both for artisans and for privileged children.