The Dead Soldier

Accession Number

The Dead Soldier

Joseph Wright of Derby

Artist Nationality
British (modern)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
oil on canvas

65 in x 78 in x 5 in (165.1 cm x 198.12 cm x 12.7 cm)

Subject matter
Inspired by a passage in the poem "The Country Justice" (1774-77) by John Langhorne, this painting depicts a grieving widow and child who left destitute by the husband's death is condemned to indigence. Wright is best known for his portrayal of Enlightenment scenes of scientific investigation and portraits. This painting was one of his most famous during his lifetime and was shown at the Royal Academy exhibition of 1789 to great acclaim. There is a smaller variant version painted by Wright in the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (accession number 1998.29).

Physical Description
A fallen man in the red coat of the 18th c. British military officer lies face down in a landscape. To the left, holding his hand, is a grieving widow and infant son. Behind the grouping is a landscape that opens off to the left with the reddish glow of continued combat. Behind the figures, a drapery has been set in the trees to frame the grouping and separate it from the distant landscape behind them.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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18 Related Resources

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Gallery Tour-AMCULT 301/WOMENSTD 341-Religion and Sexuality
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#2 Realism, Naturalistic, Abstraction
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& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 1st floor ➜ 103 (Marvin H. Davidson Gallery)