The Topography of Decay

 
The Four Stages of Cruelty Plate III, Cruelty in Perfection
Title The Four Stages of Cruelty Plate III, Cruelty in Perfection
Artist William Hogarth
Date 1751 (reprinted c. 1822)
Medium Etching and Engraving
Location The Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University

In Mary-le-bone Churchyard, Nero's evil tendencies are concentrated in his last criminal act, the murder of his devoted, pregnant lover, Ann Gill. Her gaping, disfigured body freezes him in place as the savage mob of the streets turns against him.

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