Visual Analysis

Rose, Gillian. “Visual Methodologies: A Review.” Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to  Researching with Visual Materials. 3rd ed. London: SAGE, 2012. 346-347.Print.


Fig. 1. Wright of Derby, J. (1768). An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, Oil on canvas, retrieved from

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, was painted by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1768. The media used was oil on canvas. The painting was made to represent a science experiment that scientists would complete showing how air is required for survival. The painting shows a scientist and an audience watching a bird be derived from air. The reactions on the audiences face are not what would be expected. The audience does not appear concerned for the birds safety. The viewers eye is drawn to the bird trapped inside the air pump. The air pump then leads the viewer’s eye upwards to the facial expressions seen on the scientist and his audience/onlookers. Very little colour has been used in this painting, which is a representation of the time that this work was painted (1768). I would presume most audiences would react to this painting the same as I did, and would be left wondering why the scientists didn’t care about the birds wellbeing?


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