Hogarth Reconsidered


The Topography of Decay

Hogarth used familiar places in his native London as settings for many of his prints, mapping his version of the capital and its characters. The prints were often displayed in public coffeehouses throughout the city. Viewed together, these recreated spaces form a topography of the modern urban experience, highlighting its moral ambiguity, potential for evil, and love of public spectacle-themes still relevant in Chicago today. The complexity and humor of Hogarth's prints exemplify his belief that "everything requisite to compleat the consummate painter and sculptor may be had with the utmost ease without going out of London at this time."

Gin Lane [1750]
Gin Lane [1750]

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