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Hogarth print and the enlightenment - Essay Example

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Hogarth Print and the Enlightenment Name Title of Course Date Introduction William Hogarth was a renowned artist in England during the eighteenth century and is mostly famous for his pictorial stories called ‘modern moral subjects’…
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Hogarth print and the enlightenment

Download file to see previous pages... With his new art, he was able to reach countless audience by making engravings of the paintings and selling them at low prices1. He therefore created art for aristocratic patrons as well as the public sphere that came together through the print medium to reflect on issues of general concern. Generally, Hogarth’s work brought dynamic influences on the public sphere which developed into an entity able to generate new ideas and challenge beliefs that were supported by the state. His first ‘modern moral subject’ called A Harlot’s Progress was produced in 1732 and was succeeded by A Rake’s Progress produced in 1733-34. Hogarth’s masterpiece, Marriage a La Mode was painted in 1745. His other print series included Industry and Idleness produced 1748 in and The Four Stages of Cruelty in 1751. This paper is going to mostly dwell on the print Marriage a la Mode and how it might have conveyed the ideas of the Enlightenment to the British public2. Marriage A La Mode Marriage a la Mode was by far the most enduring and popular of Hogarth’s moral subject series. The print tracks on a doomed marriage between a daughter from a wealthy man from lower social class and a son from a high status but financially troubled family3. This marriage is arranged by two opportunistic fathers; one, a rich representative of the London city who craves social status and aims to acquire it by marrying off his daughter and the other father, Earl of Squander who was a spendthrift nobleman and needed cash desperately which he finally gets it by marrying off his unprincipled, dandyish son. Since there were no considerations of love or even compatibility, the marriage is led into a path of self destruction. The print contains a set of six paintings which were subsequently made into engravings4. Plate one: the Marriage Settlement The scene establishes the just concluded negotiations for their children’s marriage between the Alderman who is seated at the center and the Earl of Squander seated at the extreme right. While squander wants money to fund his overly exuberant lifestyle, the alderman is dying to achieve a higher social status for his family that he had to buy his way into aristocracy5. In the meantime their children are depicted to be indifferent and miserable at the proceedings. Viscount Squanderfield the son of Earl has just returned from the continent and is dressed in the recent Paris fashions. He has a black spot on his neck, an indication that he might be having syphilis. Alderman’s daughter on the other hand is being soothed by Silvertongue, the lawyer, though she looks inconsolable. The chained dogs make clear the fact that the couple’s marriage is loveless and ill-matched6. The Tete a Tete The scene is set in the west end of London in a Palladian style house. It is past midday as depicted by the clock far right on the wall, and still the viscount seems to have returned from a night out and is slacked in a chair, tired and bored7. A dog is shown sniffing at some woman’s cap in his pocket. His wife as it seems, has also been awake all night apparently playing cards, but her satisfied stretch and sly look indicate that she too had been having sexual engagements and dissimilar to her indifferent husband, was at that moment enjoying the freshness of life as a stylish woman of leisure. Using a pocket mirror, she appears to be bespeaking to someone out of sight, perhaps her lover who as it looks like, had to exit in a hurry as a result of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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