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of the Plague at Athens.* Disease and Death subject could only have been conceived by a and bewildering Terror, in Athenian garments, great genius. Shakspeare, in his description are endurable, and come, as the delicate of the painting of the Trojan War, in his critics express it, within the “limits of Tarquin and Lucrece, has introduced a similar pleasurable sensation.” But the scenes of device, where the painter made a part stand their own St. Giles's, delineated by their own for the whole :countryman, are too shocking to think of.

“For much imaginary work was there, Yet if we could abstract our minds from the

Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind,

That for Achilles' image stood bis spear, fascinating colours of the picture, and forget

Grip'd in an armed hand; himself behind the coarse execution (in some respects) of the

Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind: print, intended as it was to be a cheap plate, A hand, a foot, a face, a leg, a head,

Stood for the whole to be imagined.” accessible to the poorer sort of people, for whose instruction it was done, I think we This he well calls imaginary work, where could have no hesitation in conferring the the spectator must meet the artist in his palm of superior genius upon Hogarth, conceptions half way; and it is peculiar to comparing this work of his with Poussin's the confidence of high genius alone to trust picture. There is more of imagination in it so much to spectators or readers. Lesser —that power which draws all things to one, artists show everything distinct and full, as —which makes things animate and inani- they require an object to be made out to mate, beings with their attributes, subjects, themselves before they can comprehend it. and their accessories, take one colour and When I think of the power displayed in serve to one effect. Everything in the print, this (I will not hesitate to say) sublime to use a vulgar expression, tells. Every part print, it seems to me the extreme narrowness is full of " strange images of death.” It is of system alone, and of that rage for classifiperfectly amazing and astounding to look at. cation, by which, in matters of taste at least, Not only the two prominent figures, the we are perpetually perplexing, instead of woman and the half-dead man, which are as arranging, our ideas, that would make us terrible as anything which Michael Angelo concede to the work of Poussin above ever drew, but everything else in the print, mentioned, and deny to this of Hogarth, the contributes to bewilder and stupify,—the name of a grand serious composition. very houses, as I heard a friend of mine We are for ever deceiving ourselves with express it, tumbling all about in various names and theories. We call one man a directions, seem drunk-seem absolutely reel- great historical painter, because he has taken ing from the effect of that diabolical spirit for his subjects kings or great men, or of frenzy which goes forth over the whole transactions over which time has thrown a composition. To show the poetical and grandeur. We term another the painter of almost prophetical conception in the artist, common life, and set him down in our minds one little circumstance may serve. Not for an artist of an inferior class, without content with the dying and dead figures, reflecting whether the quantity of thought which he has strewed in profusion over the shown by the latter may not much more proper scene of the action, he shows you than level the distinction which their mere what (of a kindred nature) is passing beyond choice of subjects may seem to place between it. Close by the shell, in which, by direction them; or whether, in fact, from that very of the parish beadle, a man is depositing his common life a great artist may not extract wife, is an old wall, which, partaking of the as deep an interest as another man from that universal decay around it, is tumbling to which we are pleased to call history. pieces. Through a gap in this wall are seen I entertain the highest respect for the three figures, which appear to make a part talents and virtues of Reynolds, but I do not in some funeral procession which is passing like that his reputation should overshadow by on the other side of the wall

, out of the and stifle the merits of such a man as sphere of the composition. This extending Hogarth, nor that to mere of the interest beyond the bounds of the classifications we should be content to

sacrifice one of the greatest ornaments of At the late Mr. Hope's, in Cavendish-square. England.

names and

I would ask the most enthusiastic admirer The Boys under Demoniacal Possession of of Reynolds, whether in the countenances of Raphael and Domenichino, by what law of his Staring and Grinning Despair, which he classification are we bound to assign them to has given us for the faces of Ugolino and belong to the great style in painting, and to dying Beaufort, there be anything com- degrade into an inferior class the Rake of parable to the expression which Hogarth Hogarth when he is the Madman in the has put into the face of his broken-down Bedlam scene? I am sure he is far more rake in the last plate but one of the Rake's impressive than either. It is a face which Progress,* where a letter from the manager no one that has seen can easily forget. There is brought to him to say that his play“ will is the stretch of human suffering to the not do ?” Here all is easy, natural, undis- utmost endurance, severe bodily pain brought torted, but withal what a mass of woe is on by strong mental agony, the frightful here accumulated !—the long history of a obstinate laugh of madness,—yet all so mis-spent life is compressed into the coun- unforced and natural, that those who never tenance as plainly as the series of plates were witness to madness in real life, think before had told it; here is no attempt at they see nothing but what is familiar to Gorgonian looks, which are to freeze the them in this face. Here are no tricks of beholder—no grinning at the antique bed- distortion, nothing but the natural face of posts-no face-making, or consciousness of agony. This is high tragic painting, and we the presence of spectators in or out of the might as well deny to Shakspeare the picture, but grief kept to a man's self, a face honours of a great tragedian, because he has retiring from notice with the shame which interwoven scenes of mirth with the serious great anguish sometimes brings with it, ,-a business of his plays, as refuse to Hogarth final leave taken of hope,—the coming on of the same praise for the two concluding vacancy and stupefaction, - a beginning scenes of the Rake's Progress, because of the alienation of mind looking like tranquillity. Comic Lunatics * which he has thrown into Here is matter for the mind of the beholder the one, or the Alchymist that he has to feed on for the hour together,-matter to introduced in the other, who is paddling in feed and fertilise the mind. It is too real to the coals of his furnace, keeping alive the admit one thought about the power of the artist who did it. When we compare the grand style in painting, by which he means his choice of

certain Scripture subjects. Hogarth's excursions into espression in subjects which so fairly admit Holy Land were not very numerous, but what he has of comparison, and find the superiority so left us in this kind have at least this merit, that they clearly to remain with Hogarth, shall the have expression of some sort or other in them,--the

Child Moses before Pharaoh's Daughter, for instance : mere contemptible difference of the scene of which is more than can be said of sir Joshua Reynolds's it being laid, in the one case, in our Fleet or Repose in Egypt, painted for Macklin's Bible, where for

a Madonna he has substituted a sleepy, insensible, unKing's Bench Prison, and, in the other, in motherly girl, one so little worthy to have been selected the State Prison of Pisa, or the bed-room of as the Mother of the Saviour, that she seems to have a cardinal,—or that the subject of the one

neither heart nor feeling to entitle her to become a

But indeed the race of Virgin Mary has never been authenticated, and the other painters seems to have been cut up, root and branch, at is matter of history,—so weigh down the the Reformation. Our artists are too good Protestants

to give life to that admirable commixture of maternal real points of the comparison, as to induce tenderness with reverential awe and wonder approaching us to rank the artist who has chosen the one to worship, with which the Virgin Mothers of L. da scene or subject (though confessedly inferior Vinci and Raphael (themselves by their divine counte.

nances inviting men to worship) contemplate the union in that which constitutes the soul of his art) of the two natures in the person of their Heaven-born in a class from which we exclude the better genius (who has happened to make choice of * " There are of madmen, as there are of tame, the other) with something like disgrace ? *

So apish and fantastic, play with a feather ;

And though 'twould grieve a soul to see God's • The first perhaps in all Hogarth for serious expres

image sion. That which comes next to it, I think, is the jaded So blemish'd and defac'd, yet do they act morning countenance of the debauchee in the second Such antick and such pretty lunacies, plate of the Marriage Alamode, which lectures on the That, spite of sorrow, they will make you smile. vanity of pleasure as audibly as anything in Ecclesiastes. Others again we have, like angry lions,

† Sir Joshua Reynolds, somewhere in his Lectures, Fierce as wild bulls, untumeable as pics." speaks of the presumption of Hogarth in attempting the

Honest Whine,

mother at all.

Infant.

All humour'd not alike.

We have here some

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fames of vain hope within the very walls of ence, that we do not merely laugh at, we are the prison to which the vanity has conducted led into long trains of reflection by them. him, which have taught the darker lesson of In this respect they resemble the characters extinguished hope to the desponding figure of Chaucer's Pilgrims, which have strokes who is the principal person of the scene. of humour in them enough to designate

It is the force of these kindly admixtures them for the most part as comic, but our which assimilates the scenes of Hogarth and strongest feeling still is wonder at the comof Shakspeare to the drama of real life, prehensiveness of genius which could crowd, where no such thing as pure tragedy is to as poet and painter have done, into one small be found ; but merriment and infelicity, canvas so many diverse yet co-operating ponderous crime and feather-light vanity, materials. like twi-formed births, disagreeing com The faces of Hogarth have not a mere plexions of one intertexture, perpetually momentary interest, as in caricatures, or unite to show forth motley spectacles to the those grotesque physiognomies which we world. Then it is that the poet or painter sometimes catch a glance of in the street, shows his art, when in the selection of these and, struck with their whimsicality, wish comic adjuncts he chooses such circum- for a pencil and the power to sketch them stances as shall relieve, contrast with, or fall down ; and forget them again as rapidly,– into, without forming a violent opposition to but they are permanent abiding ideas. Not his principal object. Who sees not that the the sports of nature, but her necessary Grave-digger in Hamlet, the Fool in Lear, eternal classes. We feel that we cannot part have a kind of correspondency to, and fall in with any of them, lest a link should be with, the subjects which they seem to broken. interrupt: while the comic stuff in Venice It is worthy of observation, that he has Preserved, and the doggrel nonsense of the seldom drawn a mean or insignificant counCook and his poisoning associates in the tenance.* Hogarth's mind was eminently Rollo of Beaumont and Fletcher, are pure, reflective; and, as it has been well observed irrelevant, impertinent discords,—as bad as of Shakspeare, that lie has transfused his the quarrelling dog and cat under the table own poetical character into the persons of of the Lord and the Disciples at Emmaus of his drama (they are all more or less poets) Titian ?

Hogarth has impressed a thinking character Not to tire the reader with perpetual upon the persons of his canvas. This remark reference to prints which he may not be must not be taken universally. The exfortunate enough to possess, it may be suffi- quisite idiotism of the little gentleman in cient to remark, that the same tragic cast of the bag and sword beating his drum in the expression and incident, blended in some print of the Enraged Musician, would of instances with a greater alloy of comedy, itself rise up against so sweeping an assercharacterises his other great work, the tion. But I think it will be found to be Marriage Alamode, as well as those less true of the generality of his countenances. elaborate exertions of his genius, the prints The knife-grinder and Jew flute-player in the called Industry and Idleness, the Distrest plate just mentioned, may serve as instances Poet, &c. forming, with the Harlots and instead of a thousand. They have intense Rake's Progresses, the most considerable if thinking faces, though the purpose to which not the largest class of his productions, they are subservient by no means required enough surely to rescue Hogarth from the it; but indeed it seems as if it was painful imputation of being a mere buffoon, or one to Hogarth to contemplate mere vacancy or whose general aim was only to shake the insignificance sides.

There remains a very numerous class of • If there are any of that description, they are in his his performances, the object of which must Strolling Players, a print which has been cried up by

Lord Orford as the richest of his productions, and it may be confessed to be principally comic. But in be, for what I know, in the mere lumber, the properties, all of them will be found something to dis- and dead furniture of the scene, but in living character tinguish them from the droll productions of and expression it is (for Hogarth) lamentably poor and

wanting; it is perhaps the only one of his performances Bunbury and others. They have this differ- at which we have a right to feel disgusted.

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This reflection of the artist's own intellect plate of the Harlot's Funeral, (the only thing from the faces of his characters, is one reason in that assembly that is not a hypocrite,) why the works of Hogarth, so much more quiets and soothes the mind that has been than those of any other artist, are objects of disturbed at the sight of so much depraved meditation. Our intellectual natures love man and woman kind. the mirror which gives them back their own I had written thus far, when I met with a likenesses. The mental eye will not bend passage in the writings of the late Mr. Barry, long with delight upon vacancy.

which, as it falls in with the vulgar notion Another line of eternal separation between respecting Hogarth, which this Essay has Hogarth and the common painters of droll been employed in combating, I shall take the or burlesque subjects, with whom he is often liberty to transcribe, with such remarks as confounded, is the sense of beauty, which in may suggest themselves to me in the tranthe most unpromising subjects seems never scription; referring the reader for a full wholly to have deserted him. * Hogarth answer to that which has gone before. himself,” says Mr. Coleridge,* from whom I have borrowed this observation, speaking of entitle him to an honourable place among the artists,

“ Notwithstanding Hogarth's merit docs undoubtedly a scene which took place at Ratzeburg, and that his little compositions, considered as so many never drew a more ludicrous distortion,

dramatic representations, abounding with humour, cha

racter, and extensive observations on the various inci. both of attitude and physiognomy, than this dents of low, faulty, and vicious life, are very in. effect occasioned: nor was there wanting geniously brought together, and frequently tell their beside it one of those beautiful female faces of the elevated and more noble inventions of Raphael

own story with more facility than is often found in many which the same Hogarth, in whom the satirist and other great men; yet it must be honestly confessed, never extinguished that love of beauty which that in what is called knowledge of the figure, foreigners

have justly observed, that Hogarth is often so raw and belonged to him as a poet, so often and so unformed, as hardly to deserve the name of an artist. gladly introduces as the central figure in a But this capital defect is not often perceivable, as

examples of the naked and of elevated nature but rarely crowd of humorous deformities, which figure occur in his subjects

, which are for the most part

tilled (such is the power of true genius) neither with characters that in their nature tend to deformity; acts nor is meant to act as a contrast ; but besides bis figures are small, and the jonctures, and other

difficulties of drawing that might occur in their limbs, diffuses through all and over each of the are artfully concealed with their clothes, rags, &c. group a spirit of reconciliation and human what would atone for all his defects, even if they were

twice told, is his admirable fund of invention, ever inexkindness; and even when the attention is haustible 'in its resources; and his satyr, which no longer consciously directed to the cause of always sharp and pertinent, and often highly moral, was this feeling, still blends its tenderness with except in a few instances, where he weakly and meanly

suffered his integrity to give way to his envy) seldom or our laughter: and thus prevents the instructive never employed in a dishonest or unmanly way. Hogarth merriment at the whims of nature, or the has been often imitated in his satirical vein, sometimes

in his humorous : but very few have attempted to rival foibles or humours of our fellow-men, from him in his moral walk. The line of art pursued by my degenerating into the heart-poison of contempt very ingenious predecessor and brother Academician, or hatred." To the beautiful females in Mr. Penny, is quite distinct from that of Hogarth, and

is of a much more delicate and superior relish ; he Hogarth, which Mr. C. has pointed out, attempts the heart

, and reaches it, whilst Hogarth's might be added, the frequent introduction general aim is only to shake the sides; in other respects

no comparison can be thought of, as Mr. Penny has all of children (which Hogarth seems to have that knowledge of the figure and academical skill which taken a particular delight in) into his pieces. the other wanted. As to Mr. Bunbury, who had so They have a singular effect in giving tran- happily succeeded in the vein of humour and caricatura,

he has for some time past altogether relinquished it, for quillity and a portion of their own innocence the more amiable pursuit of beautiful nature: this

, to the subject. The baby riding in its indeed, is not to be wondered at, when we recollect that mother's lap in the March to Finchley, (its the most finished grace and beauty continually at his

he has, in Mrs. Bunbury, so admirable an exemplar of careless innocent face placed directly behind elbow. But (to say all that occurs to me on this subject) the intriguing time-furrowed countenance of perhaps it may be reasonably doubted, whether the being

much conversant with Hogarth's method of exposing the treason-plotting French priest,) perfectly meanness, deformity, and vice, in many of his works, is sobers the whole of that tumultuous scene. not rather a dangerous, or, at least, a worthless pursuit; The boy mourner winding up his top with which, if it does not find a false relish and a love of and

search after satyr and buffoonery in the spectator, is at 80 much unpretending insensibility in the least not unlikely to give him one. Life is short; and

the little leisure of it is much better laid out upon that

species of art which is employed about the amiable and • The Friend, No, XVI.

the admirable, as it is more likely to be attended with

But

N N

1

nature."

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better and nobler consequences to ourselves. These two know who this Mr. Penny was. This great pursuits in art may be compared with two sets of people with whom we might associate; if we give ourselves up surpasser of Hogarth in the “delicacy of his to the Footes, the Kenricks, &c. we shall be continually relish,” and the “line which he pursued," busied and paddling in whatever is ridiculous, faulty, where is he, what are his works, what has and vicious in life; whereas there are those to be found with whom we should be in the constant pursuit and he to show? In vain I tried to recollect, study of all that gives a value and a dignity to human till by happily putting the question to a

(Account of a series of Pictures in the Great friend who is more conversant in the works Room of the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, at the Adelphi, by James Barry, R.A., Professor of the illustrious obscure than myself, I of Painting to the Royal Academy; reprinted in the last learnt that he was the painter of a Death of quarto edition of his works.)

Wolfe which missed the prize the year that It must be honestly confessed, that in the celebrated picture of West on the same what is called knowledge of the figure, foreigners have justly observed,” &c.

subject obtained it ; that he also made a

picture of the Marquis of Granby relieving It is a secret well known to the professors a Sick Soldier ; moreover, that he was the of the art and mystery of criticism, to insist inventor of two pictures of Suspended and upon what they do not find in a man's works, Restored Animation, which I now remember and to pass over in silence what they do. to have seen in the Exhibition some years That Hogarth did not draw the naked figure since, and the prints from which are still so well as Michael Angelo might be allowed, extant in good men's houses. This then, I especially as “examples of the naked," as suppose, is the line of subjects in which Mr. Barry acknowledges, “ rarely (he might Mr. Penny was so much superior to Hogarth. almost have said never) occur in his sub- I confess I am not of that opinion. The jects ; and that his figures under their relieving of poverty by the purse, and the draperies do not discover all the fine graces restoring a young man to his parents by of an Antinoüs or an Apollo, may be con- using the methods prescribed by the Humane ceded likewise ; perhaps it was more suitable Society, are doubtless very amiable subjects, to his purpose to represent the average forms pretty things to teach the first rudiments of of mankind in the mediocrity (as Mr. Burke humanity; they amount to about as much expresses it) of the age in which he lived : instruction as the stories of good boys that but that his figures in general, and in his give away their custards to poor beggar-boys best subjects, are go glaringly incorrect as is in children's books. But, good God! is this here insinuated, I dare trust my own eye so milk for babes to be set up in opposition to far as positively to deny the fact. And there Hogarth's moral scenes, his strong meat for is one part of the figure in which Hogarth men ? As well might we prefer the fulsome is allowed to have excelled, which these verses upon their own goodness to which foreigners seem to have overlooked, or the gentlemen of the Literary Fund annually perhaps calculating from its proportion to sit still with such shameless patience to the whole (a seventh or an eighth, I forget listen, to the satires of Juvenal and Persius; which,) deemed it of trifling importance; I because the former are full of tender images mean the human face ; a small part, reckon- of Worth relieved by Charity, and Charity ing by geographical inches, in the map of stretching out her hand to rescue sinking man's body, but here it is that the painter Genius, and the theme of the latter is men's of expression must condense the wonders of crimes and follies with their black conhis skill

, even at the expense of neglecting sequences — forgetful meanwhile of those the “jonctures and other difficulties of strains of moral pathos, those sublime heartdrawing in the limbs,” which it must be a touches, which these poets (in them chiefly cold eye that, in the interest so strongly showing themselves poets) are perpetually demanded by Hogarth's countenances, has darting across the otherwise appalling gloom leisure to survey and censure.

of their subject-consolatory remembrancers, “ The line of art pursued by my very ingenious prede- made us even to despair for our species

,

when their pictures of guilty mankind have cessor and brother Academician, Mr. Penny."

that there is such a thing as virtue and The first impression caused in me by moral dignity in the world, that her unreading this passage was an eager desire to quenchable spark is not utterly out —

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