Especially the SOCIAL MORALIST stuff. The English spent DECADES absolutely CHURNING OUT the most killer paintings about the perils of modern, immoral behavior.
He worked in an age when fine art was becoming commercialized, and a new form of writing, the "novel," was popular. Hogarth decided to paint as if he were telling the same sort of stories the novels often were.
-A Harlot's Progress (Don't be a slut)
-A Rake's Progress (Don't be a rich slut)
-Marriage a la Mode (Only jerks marry for money)
-Industry and Idleness (Basically Goofus and Gallant)
- Beer Street and Gin Lane (Beer good! The drink of happy, moral, industrious people! Gin bad! Make you drop your baby down the steps!)
This is not a coincidence. Nothing in these paintings are coincidences. THAT'S WHY THEY RULE SO HARD.
She is sinful! She has wronged Husband, and in a deep and unforgivable way! He is overcome with horror and grief! O, woe!
ON TO THE NEXT PAINTING.
Because Husband is dead. These are the children of the marriage, a few years older, but now recently orphaned by the passing of their dad.
Their mom should BE HERE. But she's NOT!
What do you have to say for yourself, Wife???
And here's Wife! Under a bridge. Homeless, filthy, and alone.
It's young, a toddler easily, and she left her husband YEARS ago. So this is indisputably a CHILD OF SIN.
Where is her lover? Clearly long gone, having abandoned her, as rakes always do.
Are her daughters across the water, in the skyline beyond? Unreachable? YEP.
Heavy-handed? Yeah. A double standard enabled by a smothering patriarchy that reduced women to property? Oh, YOU BET. But absolutely awesome paintings.