William Hogarth: A Harlot's Progress

(2565 words)

A Harlot's Progress is a seminal work in Hogarth's development. It marks his engagement in a new genre, narrative comic history-painting, or “modern moral subjects”, as he describes them in his Autobiographical Notes, through which he established comedy and satire in art as respectable categories worthy of serious attention. It was in 1730 when, according to the eighteenth-century diarist of artists' lives, George Vertue, Hogarth stumbled, almost by accident, on this genre. He had been painting a whore and her servant in her garret in Drury Lane, when he hit upon the idea of tracing her previous and subsequent histories. The six paintings of A Harlot's Progress, including likenesses of well-known contemporary p…

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Gordon, Ian. "A Harlot's Progress". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 July 2003
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=7146, accessed 09 October 2015.]