Eighteenth-century London is a time often described as Hogarthian. The main reasons for this lie in the fact that the well-known engraver was able to depict the city, its people and spaces in a very comprehensive way, thus reaching both those outside and captivating those within the system. At a time when London was undergoing major changes as a city and assuming a life of its own, clearly marked by controversial issues such as corruption and hypocrisy, Hogarth presented himself as “the visual interpreter of contemporary urban life”.
This paper draws on “The Four Times of the Day” (1738) to explore how it can take us through a journey of the city and its inhabitants. Included in a sequential format part of an old European tradition of painting the city, this is Hogarth’s acclaimed style of combining the High and the Low, the acceptable and the prohibited, the socially acknowledged and the notoriously rejected. Hogarth gives us here several different images of the “Self” in the one same geographical space that is seen in four different lights: the wintry light of the “Morning”, the misty light of “Noon”, the unusual sunset light of the “Evening” and the mysterious full-mooned light of “Night”.
This paper locates London and Londoners through the eyes of the author who, in each painting, draws several others which mirror a city of contrasts and contradictions. It explores the sounds, sights, vices and habits in The Four Times of the Day bearing in mind that paintings should be looked at as intentional representations.
|Keywords:||Hogarth, City, Contrasts, Londoners|
English Lecturer, English Department, Estoril Higher Institute for Hotel and Tourism Studies, Lisbon, Portugal
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