Techniques | Hogarth’s Engravings | Modern Era | Opera
When Stravinsky attended a Hogarth exhibition at the Art Institute in Chicago, he was so captivated by the natural narrative of certain images that he wanted to use them as the basis for an English-language opera. At the recommendation of his friend Aldous Huxley, Stravinsky contacted the poet W. H. Auden, and the two of them subsequently set to work on The Rake’s Progress. Hogarth’s stock in trade was that of an artist; painting, drawing and making prints of his drawings. It was these prints that Stravinsky saw at the Art Institute, including an eight-image series featuring Tom Rakewell: The young heir taking possession; Surrounded by artists and professors; The tavern scene; Arrested for debt; Marries an old maid; Scene in a gambling house; Prison scene; and Scene in Bedlam. Rakewell’s problem, according to Hogarth, was ‘affectation’ and the habit of misrepresenting himself. The artist had been inspired to create a series on The Rake after the success of his previous group of etchings and engravings, The Harlot.
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