William Hogarth - engraver, William Hogarth - inventor - The First Stage of Cruelty
Hogarth issued The Four Stages of Cruelty immediately following Gin Street, with which it shared a didactic focus on the masses as well as a cautionary message meant to serve as a warning. Hogarth’s aim was to distribute the cycle among the broadest possible audience. The protagonist of all four scenes is Tom Nero (a reference to the Roman Emperor). The first plate shows him torturing a dog in a style adopted from Jacques Callot’s Temptation of St. Anthony. Tom Nero’s fortune, in any case, is already predestined: on the left, he is seen hanging on an imaginary gallows.
measurements: height 454 mm
width 382 mm
material: paper
technique: etching
inventory number: R 16949
gallery collection: Collection of Prints and Drawings