This brief essay will work to analyze the ways in which William Hogarth’s works during eighteenth century Europe engendered many such forms of tacit transmission as well as seeking to incorporate elements of political, fictional and religious motifs. It should be noted that although this analysis will look at many of Hogarth’s works, it will not be specific to pointing out every layer of double entendre that might exist; rather, the research will be concentric on understanding and grappling with the major trends that Hogarth worked to enumerate upon within each of the pieces which will be analyzed. As such, the following research will be divided into sections which work to analyze the different means of conveyance that Hogarth employed as well as seeking to detail the specific motifs and themes that these means of conveyance sought to impress upon the viewer. The first of these paintings which will be analyzed was painted in 1754 and entitled, “An Election: Chairing Member”. This painting is extraordinarily unique due to the fact that it incorporates a host of both political, cultural, and religious motifs that bear discussion as a means of understanding some of the diverse themes and emotions that the artist was attempting to convey. The first of these themes is the pied piper that can be seen in front of the gathering of rowdy townspeople. In this way, all of the action and movement is behind this piper. Such a prominent exhibition in the foreground of the photo evokes the strong sense that Hogarth is attempting to convey to the reader. This strong sense is concentric around the fact that even though elections can be understood as an expressions of a participatory nature, the fact of the matter is that people still behave as if in a group and in a senseless manner. This cultural theme of the pied piper is further illustrated in a religious context by the inclusion of a small group of swine directly in the process of running off the side of the bridge that is pictured. This of course is reminiscent of the unclean spirits that Christ cast into the group of swine in Samaria that subsequently threw themselves into the Sea of Galilee. As such, the artist makes a firm connection between the religious imagery depicted and the cultural imagery of the pied piper. By presenting high levels of nuanced detail, Hogarth was able to evoke imagery that sought to express various elements within current society as well as to impress upon the reader a host of ideas and correlations that other artists did not. Furthermore, the artist seeks to convey an image that depicts the ridiculous nature of democracy in the form that it existed during his time. In this way, the artist seeks to represent the citizens in the foreground and the background as zealots that feverishly push and pull for the given belief system of their choice and fight against those that defy such a belief system. However, what is most interesting and almost unnoticeable is the fact that the aristocrats within the society look out from their second story windows onto the raucous below with amusement. In this way, the artist seeks to represent a face of politics that has continued to haunt our system until the current time; the fact that the ultra rich are often times directing the fate of politics unbeknownst to the workers who fight and die for the values that the super-rich espouse. The second painting of Hogarth’
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Nichole Herrera Date History 308 Reality and Art: The Paintings of William Hogarth as Contemporary Commentary on the Society of 18th Century Europe Since the dawn of time, artists have attempted to incorporate elements of current themes into their works as a means of giving it an aura of contemporaneousness…
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