William Pether (British, ca. 17381821) after Joseph Wright (British, 17341797)
Mezzotint; Plate: 22 7/8 x 17 7/8 in. (58 x 45.5 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1953 (53.600.566)
In a stone chamber containing the Nymph with a Shell and the Borghese Gladiator, six fancifully dressed young artists have assembled by the light of a single lamp. The virtuoso realism herewhich lingers over the chipped stone of the plinthbelies the scene's mysterious, romantic mood. William Pether's exquisite mezzotint after Joseph Wright displays a subtle tonal range, its deep shadows warmed by the brownish hue of the ink. Against the velvety darks, the highlightssuch as the protruding sheet beneath the foremost draftsman's sketchappear almost to glow.