Character vs. Caricature (Contra The Italians)

Posted: June 13, 2017 in Uncategorized


Hogarth‘s subscription ticket announces that he is a comic artist, not a caricaturist.This etching was designed as a subscription ticket – a receipt presented to all those who had placed an advance order for Hogarth’s series, Marriage à la mode.

It refers to Henry Fielding‘s preface to Joseph Andrews (1742), where Fielding had praised Hogarth as a comic history painter and drawn a parallel distinction between the comic and the burlesque in writing and between comedy and caricature in painting. The comic painter imitates nature, while the caricaturist distorts and exaggerates nature. Hogarth, Fielding had said, expresses ‘the affections of men on canvas’ and his figures ‘seem to think’.

Hogarth particularly disliked caricature because it was an Italian fashion that was being introduced to England by the same people who dealt in foreign ‘old master’ paintings and drawings. These dealers and drawing masters encouraged their pupils and patrons to think more highly of what was old or continental than of modern English art.

  1. Kayla Kingsley says:

    I really liked the captions under the photos for Marriage a la mode. The in-depth descriptions along with the painting series is a really good example of how Hogarth depicts human expression.

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