William Hogarth: Painter & Printmaker
16 May – 31 August 2015
Paintings and prints from the revolutionary British satirist, including Tate Britain's impressive collection of oils.
Best known for his series of ‘modern moral subjects’ Hogarth put a mirror to the harsh realities of contemporary urban life, depicting both high and low culture and revolutionising what were considered suitable subjects for artistic study. His inventive satirical narratives were packed with allusions and gestures, representing the vice, greed and self-destruction of Britain on both an individual and national scale.
His hugely popular engravings (often copies of his paintings) were produced in large volumes, offering a wider public the chance to enjoy his work as well as generating much needed revenue. But unauthorised copying became a problem, and A Harlot’s Progress was so heavily pirated that Hogarth was compelled to lobby parliament for legal controls over artistic reproductions.
This exhibition has been developed with Tate Britain, and features the museum’s leading collection of Hogarth oils. It will be complemented by a selection of prints from Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’s permanent collection, and is the most comprehensive show of the artist’s work ever shown in the South West.
Hogarth’s 28 ft high ArtFunded Altarpiece of St Mary Redcliffe is also on display nearby at St Nicholas Church. Not a triptych, the central canvas was hung high over the altar, and the side panels were fixed at right angles to it on top of the screen.