William Hogarth (1697–1764): The Painter and his Pug8/14/2021, 12:08:04 PM
William Hogarth (1697–1764): The Painter and his Pug (Self-portrait), 1745, oil on canvas, 90 × 69.9 cm (35.4 × 27.5 in), Tate Britain William Hogarth is one of the most attractive and innovative British artists, a painter, printmaker, pictorial satirist, social critic, and editorial cartoonist who has been credited with pioneering western sequential art. Born in London, he trained as an engraver, later studying painting at a private academy, but was frustrated in his ambition to become an English 'history painter'. He blamed this on the vogue for Old Masters and competition from Continental contemporaries. His vociferous patriotism, however, cannot disguise his own indebtedness to French art; nor did he hesitate to advertise his use of 'the best Masters in Paris' to engrave the series Marriage à la Mode, of which this picture is the first. Since he could not earn a living as a portraitist or monumental painter, Hogarth conceived the notion of 'modern moral subjects' to be sold as engravings on subscription, as well as in their original painted state. 'Comic history paintings' are the works by which we best remember the artist and which most clearly express his own moral certitudes. They are related to sixteenth-century broadsheets, and to the 'conversation pieces' theatrical subjects which Hogarth himself helped to popularise. Knowledge of his work is so pervasive that satirical political illustrations in this style are often referred to as "Hogarthian" 'Painter and his Pug' is a 1745 self-portrait created by the artist. He began the portrait a decade earlier. The portrait was originally created with the intention of Hogarth wearing formal attire, but was changed to the informal attire sometime during the painting process. In the portrait, Hogarth himself is in a painting as the pug is alongside him, making the dog "real" as opposed to the created person.