The Dead Soldier By Joseph Wright

1210 Words5 Pages
The American Revolution, the effects it had on those who served and their families, the death, the unapologetic rawness, and what it left behind; all of these aspects demand to be felt in Joseph Wright’s The Dead Soldier. Wright, called Joseph Wright of Derby, a European artist of the eighteenth century, who is best known for his beautiful portraiture, scientific scenes, and sensationally lit landscapes, steps outside of his norm and composes a sorrowful piece expressing the misery and loss the war had on the people of the time. With his use of chiascurro, draping lines, and contrasting color palette, Wright evokes an immense amount of sentiment in the viewer while highlighting the dark misery of the American Revolution, which is rarely…show more content…
To the right, the cloth has opened to the viewer a lush landscape. Smoke fills the landscapes air as contrasting reds and pinks of the ongoing battle behind them provide knowledge to the viewer that this is not the end of the long going war. Our eyes make its way back to the framed family of three. A young baby who just finished suckling away at his mother’s breasts, is the only invitation the viewer has into this painful scene. The baby looks directly at the viewer as his mother cradles him in her arm, creating a beautiful oval framing of the two. The mother’s face is not seen as she places her head on the hand of her deceased solider husband, his lifeless fingers grasped by his young child. The family holds onto each other, creating a juxtaposition due to the harsh reality of their now broken family. The soldiers limp arm provides a parallel diagonal line mirroring the draping cloth behind him. Follow his arm downwards and we see his barren body still in uniform, his long hair sprawled across the floor. Next to him near his widowed wife’s feet, sits her crumpled bonnet; a symbol for the once young mother and wife whose life is in scrambles from the effects of the revolution. A look into the helpless child’s eyes creates a real sense of pathos for viewers as it appeals to the factual evidence that can be seen at the time. The American Revolution left plenty of widowed mothers and fatherless children. The sorrowful emotions The Dead
Open Document