Lesson Plan

by Adam Tavel

    after Joseph Wright’s The Corinthian Maid, c. 1782-1784

Who remembers our discussion of myth from yesterday?

    we lied and said the world began with light

In Wright’s composition, what is Butades doing on the wall?

    she steals her lover’s silhouetted face

And why does she sketch his profile hastily in charcoal?

    his death has come to mock that boyish spear

When in history is this painting set?

    in ancient Corinth girls would swoon for shades

Where did Joseph Wright flourish as an artist?

    he cupped such shards rinsed clean by English rain

Can you describe his color palette?

    a smashed amphora’s belly stained from wine

How best can we understand the Neoclassical impulse?

    they searched an earthquake oracle for moans

Can you connect this painting to other works we’ve studied?

    all history is a child whose grave’s unmarked

Are there any questions before we take our quiz?

    how long until she smudged his trace away

Adam Tavel is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Green Regalia (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2022). You can find him online at http://adamtavel.com/