Joseph Wright of Derby, part deux

Donald Trump just visited Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip. A bizarre photo of him posing with a glowing orb that resembled the witch’s crystal ball in The Wizard of Oz made its rounds on the Internet today. While I have no interest in a political discussion, I do find the lighting of the image to be eerily similar to one of Who Painted That’s favorite painters – Joseph Wright of Derby. Check it out!

The Alchemist (1771) by Joseph Wright of Derby. Derby Museum and Art Gallery (Derby, UK). 

The Alchemist (1771) by Joseph Wright of Derby. Derby Museum and Art Gallery (Derby, UK). 

Single artificial light source. Shadows at the edges (Tenebrism). Neoclassical, clearly presented figures huddled around a pseudo-scientific/industrial object. Check, check, and check! The only thing that the otherwise excellent photograph is missing is dynamism. It feels like a static photo-op instead of a Derby painting, with its figures huddling closer, on the verge of some Enlightenment discovery.

Here’s one last look at them, side by side: