William Hogarth is well known for his paintings of family groups and portraits, modern morality paintings, sequential art and pictorial satires.
Hogarth was born on the 10th of November, 1697, in London. He trained as an engraver under Ellis Gamble. He picked up sketching and painting as a hobby in his younger years. And later learned how to paint under Sir James Thornhill
Some of Hogarth’s early works include early works include The Lottery (1724), The Mystery of Masonry brought to Light by the Gormogons (1724) and A Just View of the British Stage (1724).
He also started painting ‘conversation pieces’, which are oil paintings of full length portraits. The Fountaine Family (1730) is a notable piece.
In around 1730-31, William Hogarth started painting morality paintings. In these, he satirized a certain vice, and then had it punished. These were sequential paintings, akin to theatrical performances. They were later converted into engravings. Some of his important works in this category are A Harlot’s Progress (1731) and its sequel, A Rake’s Progress (1735) and Marriage a la Mode (1743-45).
He also painted a series of satires on the contemporary taste for all things Italian and French. The Election (1754) is one such work.
The English painter’s most successful portraits are Shrimp girl and Artist’s Servants.
It is noticeable that William Hogarth’s interest in art went beyond simply painting and sketching for aesthetic purposes. His pictorial satires were intended to reform society and manners. Moreover, he also opened his own art academy on St Martin’s Lane. He also published The Analysis of Beauty, in 1753. This book contains his ideas on artistic design. It also explicates his fondness for the S-line as the principle of beauty.
William Hogarth passed away on the 26th of October 1764, in London.