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Romeo and Juliet: scene in the tomb - Joseph Wright. 180 x 240 cm
The work was exhibited in several places during the life of the artist and after his death, but was not bought. Since 1981, he has been in the Derby collection - with it, Wright's sketch for the painting, in which there are changes in the image of some parts of the painting, is also exhibited. The plot originally conceived: the scene of Juliet's awakening in the tomb, was commissioned by the publisher Boydell for his Shakespeare Gallery, which included illustrations for the plays of the playwright.
The canvas depicts a scene from the drama of William Shakespeare's “Romeo and Juliet,” namely the 3rd scene of the 5th act: “Someone's voices. It's time to finish. But here is the dagger, fortunately. " Juliet, waking up from a dream in a tomb, discovers there Romeo who killed himself, on whose lips is poison - it should be noted that the pose of a dead hero is similar to Michelangelo’s sketch “Titium” - kisses him and, hearing that someone is walking (“First watchman: what kind of place is this? Lead, my dear "), grabs the dagger of his beloved.
On the wall on the left you can see the shadow of a person - the head in the helmet of the city guard. Kneeling over him in a heroic pose similar to a gladiatorial one (arms extended backwards, a dagger in his right hand; despair and determination in a pose as a whole), Juliet is about to stab him into herself.
This picture is one of the main examples showing the artist’s special skill in using light effects, depicting scenes in the dusk of the night, lit by candles or the moon. The combination of soft warm light, the source of which remains outside the picture, and skillfully transmitted (like the folds of clothes and swaddling clothes on the sarcophagus) shadows of the tomb gives the whole picture dark colors.