METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump. Engraving of a famous 1768 painting by English painter Joseph Wright of Derby (1734-1797). This work is the second of the series of 'candlelight' compositions that established Wright's name. It depicts a public demonstration of the effects of a vacuum created by an air pump using a live bird (top centre). The vacuum suffocates the bird and leads to a painful death, and a distressed female spectator can be seen (right). Air Pump' was influenced by meetings between Wright and his friends, when they demonstrated experiments and discussed the latest scientific developments. This 1769 engraving is by Valentine Green.
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