The Dead Soldier Analysis

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It is my great honor to explore the Legion of Honor Museum located in San Francisco on March 30th. All of the fantastic artworks have impressed me by the artists’ excellent drawing techniques and imaginations. However, there is one great masterwork of painting influenced me the most. It was draw by the celebrated English artist Joseph Wright of Derby (1734–1797) and entitled The Dead Soldier(1789). The exceptional 49 ¾ x 64-inch painting has been principally known through a smaller version painted by Wright and housed in its original carved wood and gilded frame. Joseph Wright, the English professional landscape and portrait painter has drawn many well-known oil paintings, and the most famous ones might be An Experiment on a Bird in the Air …show more content…
It makes a straightforward statement about love, loss and grief. There have been many arguments about the identification of the dead man in uniform in the painting. However, his identification is not the most important part of the artwork from my point of view, he can be anyone’s father, anyone’s husband and any soldier who died in a battlefield. The dead man can be a fictional character, but the sorrow behind this story is real. It reminds people the grim civil war that took place in British in 17th century. While the dead soldiers’ remains are scarcely cold not even long after the civil war yet, the government keeps sending armies all over the world to seize resources such as cotton and rice. Countless people dead in the battlefields all over the world by fighting for their countries. There is one detail in the artwork that puzzled me a lot- why the woman and her infant are with the dead soldier right next to the battlefield? Which is not usually seen in real life. However, it is one of many marvelous designs that Wright made in this great artwork. For the sake of dramatic unity the artist combined two scenes: the soldier’s death and the woman back in England receiving the news. Faced with this exaggerated or operatic invention, we have no difficulty in suspending our disbelief. That the painting’s human, lachrymose play on our sympathies is accompanied by a less overt but sufficiently plain not of morbidsexuality no doubt added to the popularity of the image. But it is apparent that despite the painting’s title, the soldier on the ground, who seems to exemplify Benjamin West’s anti hero or non-hero dying under a bush, is not the work’s central character. (Suffering and Sentiment in Romantic Military Art, By Philip Shaw,

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