A Philosopher Shewing an Experiment on the Air Pump

A work made of mezzotint with traces of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of mezzotint with traces of engraving in black on ivory laid paper.

Date:

1769

Artist:

Valentine Green (English, 1739-1813)
after Joseph Wright of Derby (English, 1734-1797)
printed by John Boydell (English, 1719-1804)

About this artwork

The consummate mezzotint engraver Valentine Green created this iconic image a year after the Enlightenment-era painter Joseph Wright of Derby completed the original painting (National Gallery, London). Green’s limpid moonlit effects and riveting velvet-black ink aptly render this nocturnal scientific demonstration as a matter of life or death: the bird in the glass sphere begins to suffocate as air is pumped out of the chamber, leaving the breathless viewers uncertain of its ultimate fate.

Currently Off View

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Valentine Green

Title

A Philosopher Shewing an Experiment on the Air Pump

Origin

England

Date

1769

Medium

Mezzotint with traces of engraving in black on ivory laid paper

Dimensions

448 × 585 mm (image/plate); 457 × 590 mm (sheet)

Credit Line

The Amanda S. Johnson and Marion J. Livingston Fund

Reference Number

2013.1271

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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