The dramatic aspects of the work of British satirist William Hogarth are the focus of the print show now in the White Gallery at the Spencer Museum of Art.
"Hogarth and the Shows of London" was organized by the Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Elvehjem curator Andrew Stevens, who organized the show and wrote the catalog, is a KU graduate and former Spencer museum employee.
During Hogarth's lifetime, 1696 to 1764, he was hailed as the greatest printmaker in England. His prints were immensely popular in his own time and, with their revelation of the foibles of human nature, remain so today. Hogarth raised the technical standards of English printmaking and also instigated the first copyright law for printmakers.
Throughout his long career, Hogarth was interested in the many shows which 18th-century London offered. His interest was not limited to the formal theatre; he cast his gaze upon the range of public entertainment to which Londoners flocked.
"These exemplary prints not only will give the audience a better understanding of and appreciation for Hogarth's work," said Stevens, "but also will provide insights into the culture from which the works sprang, bringing together the artistic, theatrical and literary facets of English life in the first half of the 18th century."
The 52 prints exhibited are primarily from the collection of the Elvehjem Museum, supplemented by a loan from Suzanne and Gerald Labiner.
Stevens will speak on "Showing and Revealing: Hogarth's Reviewing of London," at 7 p.m., Feb. 27, in the Spencer auditorium. The tour du jour is 12:15 p.m. Feb. 20.