The exhibition about William Hogarth at the Louvre museum is an essential one for many reasons. First of all, it is the first time that such a retrospect is held in France to honor the British painter. Besides, it is the occasion to discover or rediscover this genius artist admired by the intellectual sphere of his time, but almost forgotten in France. The retrospect shows each stage in Hogarth's career which led him to his major purpose, the creation of a British School of Painting. The association of Olivier Meslay, curator at the Louvre, and Frederic Ogee, professor in British studies, makes it possible to replace Hogarth's work in its historical and intellectual context. First known as an engraver, Hogarth started his art by depicting the social satire with a hint of moral and humor. In the 18th century, London had become the scene of popular events which inspired the young artist.
[...] And last but not least, William Hogarth wrote one of the most important and modern aesthetic treatise, published in 1753, The Analysis of Beauty, on which is built almost his entire work of art. Biographic details Some biographic elements will help to best understand the exhibition as well as Hogarth's personality. Born in 1697, William Hogarth is the son of a schoolmaster who run into debts and as a consequence had to go to jail. Therefore, his family had to follow him. [...]
[...] Hogarth can be considered as their equivalent in the pictorial field. His work of series is built on a scheme of sequences showing its causes and its effects. The most famous series based on the aesthetic of progress are the Rake's Progress and the Harlot's Progress. These series are composed like real novels, full of suspense and humour. They illustrate the consequences of the main character's choices in his life. They have to be read from left to right to see the portrait drawn in movement going step by step to its end according to the rule of destiny. [...]
[...] Here, Hogarth is at the top of his art and creates his best narrative work. Marriage A-La-Mode encountered a great success in all Europe. The Election series In the Election series, from 1754, Hogarth shows his political involvement and his love for democracy and denounces the corruption during the elections in Oxfordshire. Britophil: a British and modern artist In a time without museums or the artists had no contact with the public. That is why Hogarth organised a permanent contemporary art exhibition at Vauxhall in 1746 and in the Foundling Hospital of which he was the administrator, with his friend Thomas Coram. [...]
[...] In a very different register the portrait of Sir Francis Dashwood at his Devotions enables Hogarth to portrait the character in an ironic way, under the face of a saint and a second level reveals the true nature of the man, one of the most libertines of his time. Like in his narrative series, Hogarth uses details to reveal the real subject of the painting. The Line of Beauty Apart from his engraving and painting activities, Hogarth was a brilliant theorist. [...]
[...] He shows his tongue to the public in a satirical manner like Hogarth does through his work. The conversation piece The following pieces of art show the typical genre in which Hogarth started conversation piece” or group of portraits. This theme appeared after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and depicts the Polite Society in indoor as well as outdoor scenes related to social activities and illustrated in The Strode Family or The Fountain Family. In the 1720's and 1730's, the scenes of polite conversations were extremely fashionable such as the representation of the tea-time. [...]
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