Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

and Art. 
At this time Hogarth had already commenced that new Ityle of defign 
which was deftined to raife him foon to a degree of fame as an artift few 
men have ever attained. In his "Anecdotes" of himfelf, the painter has 
given us an iuterefting account of the motives by which he was guided. 
" The reafons," he fays, " which induced me to adopt this mode of 
defigning Were, that I thought both writers and painters had, in the 
hiitorical Ityle, totally overlooked that intermediate fpecies of fubjeofts 
which may be placed between the fublime and the grotefque. I there- 
fore wifhed to cornpofe pictures on canvas fimilar to reprefentations on the 
Rage; and further hope that they will be tried by the fame teft, and 
criticifed by the fame criterion. Let it be obferved, that I mean to fpeak 
only of thofe fcenes where the human fpecies are aotors, and thefe, I 
think, have not often been delineated in a Way of which they are worthy 
and capable. In thefe cornpofitions, thofe fubjects that will both entertain 
and improve the mind bid fair to be of the greatellz public utility, and 
mutt therefore be entitled to rank in the higheft clafs. If the execution 
is diiiicult (though that is but a fecondary merit), the author has claim to 
a higher degree of praife. If this be admitted, comedy, in painting as 
well as writing, ought to be allotted the firtt place, though the _['ul-lime, 
as it is called, has been oppofed to it. Ocular demoniiration will carry 
more conviction to the mind of a fenfible man than all he would find in 
a thoufand volumes, and this has been attempted in the prints I have 
compofed. Let the decifion be left to every unprejucliced eye; let the 
figures in either pictures or prints be confidered as players dreffed either 
for the fublime, for genteel comedy or farce, for high or low life. I 
have endeavoured to treat my fubjeits as a dramatic writer: my pidture 
is my Gage, and men and women my players, who, by means of certain 
atiiions and gefrures, are to exhibit a duml:-fhow." 
The great feries of pietures, indeed, which form the principal founda- 
tion of Hogartlfs fame, are comedies rather than caricatures, and noble 
comedies they are. Like comedies, they are arranged, by a feries of fuc- 
eeflive plates, in acts and fcenes ; and they reprefent contemporary fociety 
piEt0riall_v,ju(l as it had been and was reprefented on the Rage in Engliih 
comedy. It is not by delicacy or excellence of drawing that Hogarth 


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