PALAGI, Pelagio
(b. 1775, Bologna, d. 1860, Torino)

Newton's Discovery of the Refraction of Light

Oil on canvas, 167 x 216 cm
Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia

After the earlier Neoclassicism this painting demonstrates a change in Palagi's style. The painting reveals the emergence of a Romantic, narrative undertone. Newton's discovery is presented like a scene in a play. The child's soap bubbles stop the scientist in his tracks as he makes the spontaneous discovery. The picture can be seen as genre painting as well as history painting, and it also shows Palagi's inclination to psychological interpretation, a preference that was shared by Italian painters generally in the next few years.