teeming with a lifetime’s scrupulously collected detail


Hogarth’s art bursts with life, and with characters fictional and real, sometimes side by side. Moll Hackabout, Tom Rakewell and the Earl of Squander rub shoulders with Colonel Francis Charteris, a notorious abuser of women, while Sir Francis Dashwood prays at an altar to lust. Hogarth’s characters are as various as his age, and only rarely do they become caricatures. Early in his career, he made a stab at illustrating Don Quixote, but gave it up – perhaps the characters and situations were already too one-dimensional. For the same reasons, one can envisage him rejecting Dickens but illustrating De Sade. I imagine him appreciating the film director Robert Altman – the weave of stories, the characters, the situations. Hogarth knew his talents were as much those of a storyteller as of a painter or a printmaker; nowadays, he would probably have written and directed movies. The brilliantly orchestrated crowd scenes in Election are crying out for animation.

more from The Guardian here.