Logo: Silhouette of William Hunter

Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery William Hunter Collections:
GLAHA 16096


This information is © The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery, University of Glasgow 2017

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GLAHM 16096: 'Analysis of Beauty, Plate I' 1753 - click to view larger image

"Analysis of Beauty, Plate I" 1753

etching and engraving

CRE HOGARTH, William; (English; 1697-1764)


Materials:
printed in black
Dimensions:
38.1 x 50.1
Frame:
IH
References:
195 PAULSON, Ronald 1989 Hogarth's Graphic Works, Third Revised Edition, London, The Print Room, 1989
Notes:
One of two plates that accompanied Hogarth's treatise the Analysis of Beauty (1753), to which the Hunterian founder, Dr William Hunter subscribed on 11 August 1752 (see GLAHA 17091 for his subscription ticket). Hogarth's print imagery often worked by means of a dramatic contrast, and the Analysis was accompanied by two engravings encapsulating the author's attitudes towards art - plate1 - and nature (plate 2). Plate 1 is addressed to the connoisseur, and is concerned with didactic methods, and the influences on artists from a society that praised ancient art in an entirely uncritical way. The main scene is set in a statuary's yard, in which copies of famous ancient sculpture are being made. Works visible include a Venus de' Medici, a Laoco÷n and the male nude known as the Belvedere Antinous. In connection with William Hunter, it is interesting to note Hogarth's very favourable attitude towards the study of anatomy. The ancients' knowledge of anatomy was understood to be an important part of their excellence, and in the central chapter of the Analysis, in which Hogarth expounds his theory of the 'Serpentine Line', the greater part of the chapter is devoted to anatomy. He argues that the muscles and bones are instances of the Serpentine Line in nature. To the left of the main image can be seen three anatomical representations of a human leg. The text explains that the central leg was taken from a plaster cast from life made by the anatomist William Cowper (1666-1710), who was the first anatomist to artists in London, and was himself an artist. Hogarth's knowledge of Cowper's work might have come from hunter, or from William Cheselden, who was Cowper's pupil and was himself a subscriber to the St Martin's Lane Academy in 1720.
Keywords:
HUNTER 2007 : SCULPTOR'S YARD : CHELSELDEN : JOHN CHEERE : TREATISE ON ART : HERCULES FARNESE : ACADEMY : DURER ON PROPORTION : PM : PICTURING VENUS :

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For more information please contact Malcolm.Chapman@glasgow.ac.uk