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The Four Stages of Cruelty is a series of four printed engravings published by English artist William Hogarth in Each print depicts a different stage in the life of the fictional Tom Nero. Beginning with the torture of a dog as a child in the First stage of crueltyNero progresses to beating his horse as a man in the Second stage of crueltyand then to robbery, seductionand murder in Cruelty in perfection.
Finally, in The reward of crueltyhe receives what Hogarth warns is the inevitable fate of those who start down the path Nero has followed: his body is taken from the gallows after his execution as a murderer and is mutilated by surgeons in the anatomical theatre. The prints were intended as a form of moral instruction; Hogarth was dismayed by the routine acts of cruelty he witnessed on the streets of London.
Issued on cheap paper, the prints were destined for the lower classes. The series shows a roughness of execution and a brutality that is untempered by the funny touches common in Hogarth's other works, but which he felt was necessary to impress his message on the intended audience. Nevertheless, the pictures still carry the wealth of detail and subtle references that are characteristic of Hogarth. In common with other prints by Hogarth, such as Beer Street and Gin LaneThe Four Stages of Cruelty was issued as a warning against immoral behaviour, showing the easy path from childish thug to convicted criminal.
His aim was to correct "that barbarous treatment of animals, the very sight of which renders the streets of our metropolis so distressing to every feeling mind". Hogarth deliberately portrayed the subjects of the engravings with little subtlety since he meant the prints to be understood by "men of the lowest rank"  when seen on the walls of workshops or taverns.
Fine engraving and delicate artwork would have rendered the prints too expensive for the intended audience, and Hogarth also believed a bold stroke could portray the passions of the subjects just as well as fine lines, noting that "neither great correctness of drawing or fine engraving were at all necessary". To ensure that the prints were priced within reach of the intended audience, Hogarth originally Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Cruelty the block-cutter J.
Bell to produce the four designs as woodcuts. This proved more expensive than expected, so only the last two of the four images were cut and were not issued commercially at the time. James Townleya friend of Hogarth's. Variations on Kill - Crisis - The Guilty Have A Past - Singles & Demos 1977-1979 III and IV exist from Bell's original woodcuts, bearing the earlier date of 1 January and were reprinted in by John Boydellbut examples from either of the woodcut printings are uncommon.
In the first print Hogarth introduces Tom Nero, whose surname may have been inspired by the Roman Emperor of the same name or a contraction of "No hero". Hogarth used this notorious slum area as the background for many of his works including Gin Lane and Noonpart of the Four Times of the Day series.
A more tender-hearted boy, perhaps the dog's owner,  pleads with Nero to stop tormenting the frightened animal, even offering food in an attempt to appease him. This boy supposedly represents a young George III. The other boys carry out equally barbaric acts: the two boys at the top of the steps are burning the eyes out of a bird with a hot needle heated by the link-boy 's torch; the boys in the foreground are throwing at a cock perhaps an allusion to a nationalistic enmity towards the Frenchand a suggestion that the action takes place on Shrove Tuesdaythe traditional day for cock-shying ;  another boy ties a bone to a dog's tail—tempting, but out of reach; a pair of fighting cats are hung by their tails and taunted by a jeering group of boys; in the bottom left-hand corner a dog is set on a cat, with the latter's intestines spilling out onto the ground; and in the rear of the picture another cat tied to two bladders is thrown from a high window.
In Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Cruelty foreshadowing of his ultimate fate, Tom Nero's name is written under the chalk drawing of a man hanging from the gallows; the meaning is made clear by the schoolboy artist pointing towards Tom.
The absence of parish officers who should be controlling the boys is an intentional rebuke on Hogarth's part; he agreed with Dolphin Wild - Raphael & Kutira - The Essence of Oceanic Tantra - Macrocosm Meditation - Volume 3 Fielding that one of the causes for the rising crime rate was the lack of care from the overseers of the poor, who were too often interested in the posts only for the social status and monetary rewards they could bring.
Below the text the authorship is established: Designed by W. Hogarth, Published according to Act of Parliament. Many of Hogarth's earlier works had been reproduced in great numbers without his authority or any payment of royaltiesand he was keen to protect his artistic property, so had encouraged his friends in Parliament to pass a law to protect the rights of engravers.
Hogarth had been so instrumental in pushing the Bill through Parliament that on passing it became known as the "Hogarth Act". In the second plate, the scene is Thavies Inn Gate sometimes ironically written as Thieves Inn Gateone of the Inns of Chancery which housed associations of lawyers in London.
Tom's horse, worn out from years of mistreatment and overloading, has collapsed, breaking its leg and upsetting the carriage. Disregarding the animal's pain, Tom has beaten it so furiously that he has put its eye out. In a satirical aside, Hogarth shows four corpulent barristers struggling to climb out of the carriage in a ludicrous state. They are probably caricatures of eminent jurists, but Hogarth did not reveal the subjects' names, and they have not been identified.
Elsewhere in the scene, other acts of cruelty against animals take place: a drover beats a lamb to death, an ass is driven on by force despite being overloaded, and an enraged bull tosses one of its tormentors. Some of Jingle Bells - Various - Stars at Christmas acts are recounted in the moral accompanying the print:. The tender Lamb o'er drove and faint, Amidst expiring Throws; Bleats forth it's innocent complaint And dies beneath the Blows.
Inhuman Wretch! What Int'rest springs from barb'rous deeds? What Joy from Misery? The cruelty has also advanced to include abuse of people. A dray crushes a playing boy while the drayman sleeps, oblivious to the boy's injury and the beer spilling from his barrels. Posters in the background advertise a cockfight and a boxing match as further evidence of the brutal Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Cruelty favoured by the subjects of the image.
The boxing match is to take place at Broughton's Amphitheatre, a notoriously tough venue established by the "father of pugilism", Jack Broughton : a contemporary bill records that the contestants would fight with their left leg strapped to the floor, with the one with the fewest bleeding wounds being adjudged the victor.
On Taylor's death inHogarth produced a number of sketches of him wrestling Death, probably for his tomb. In an echo of the first plate, there is but one person who shows concern for the welfare of the tormented horse. To the left of Nero, and almost unseen, a man Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Cruelty down Nero's hackney coach number to report him. By the time of the third plate, Tom Nero has progressed from the mistreatment of animals to theft and Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Cruelty.
Having encouraged his pregnant lover, Ann Gill, to rob and leave her mistress, he murders the girl when she meets him. The murder is shown to be particularly brutal: her neck, wrist, and index finger are almost severed. Her trinket box [c] and the goods she had stolen lie on the ground beside her, and the index finger of her partially severed hand points to the words "God's Revenge against Murder" written on a book that, along with the Book of Common Prayerhas fallen from the box.
Dear Tommy My mistress has been the best of women to me, and my conscience flies in my face as often as I think of wronging her; yet I am resolved to venture body and soul to do as you would have me, so do not fail to meet me as you said you would, for I will bring along with me all the things I can lay Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Cruelty hands on.
So no more at present; but I remain yours till death. Ann Gill. The spelling is perfect and while this is perhaps unrealistic, Hogarth deliberately avoids any chance of the scene becoming comical. Ronald Paulson sees a parallel between the lamb beaten to death in the Second Stage and the defenceless girl murdered here.
To lawless Love when once betray'd. Yet learn, seducing Man! Various features in the print are meant to intensify the feelings of dread: the murder takes place in a graveyard, said to be St Pancras but suggested by John Ireland to resemble Marylebone ;  an owl and a bat fly around the scene; the moon shines down on the crime; the clock strikes one for the end of the witching hour.
In the alternative image for this stage, produced as a woodcut by Bell, Tom is shown with his hands free. There are also differences in the wording of the letter  and some items, like the lantern and books, are larger and simpler while others, such as the man to the left of Tom and the topiary bush, have been removed.
Having been tried and found guilty of murder, Pido Discrecion - Semen Up* - Vuelve El Hombre has now been hanged and his body taken for the ignominious process of public dissection. The year after the prints were issued, the Murder Act would ensure that the bodies of murderers could be delivered to the surgeons so they could be "dissected and anatomised".
It was hoped this further punishment on the body and denial of burial would act as a deterrent. A tattoo on his arm identifies Tom Nero, and the rope still around his neck shows his method of execution.
The dissectors, their hearts hardened after years of working with cadavers, are shown to have Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Cruelty much feeling for the body as Nero had for his victims; his eye is put out just as his horse's was, and a dog feeds on his heart, taking a poetic revenge for the torture inflicted on one of Wilson Pickett - The Sound Of Wilson Pickett kind in the first plate.
Just as his murdered mistress's finger pointed to Nero's destiny in Cruelty in Perfectionin this print Nero's finger points to the boiled bones being prepared for Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Crueltyindicating his ultimate fate.
While the surgeons working on the body are observed by the mortar-boarded academics in the front row, the physicians, who can be identified by their wigs and canes, largely ignore the dissection and consult among themselves.
Two skeletons to the rear left and right of the print are labelled as James Fielda well-known boxer who also featured on a poster in the second plate, and Macleanean infamous highwayman. Both men were hanged shortly before the print was published Macleane in and Field in The skeletons seemingly point to one another. Simms was a robber who was executed in The composition of the scene is a pastiche of the frontispiece of Andreas Vesalius 's De humani corporis fabricaand it possibly also borrows from Quack Physicians' Hall c.
Behold the Villain's dire disgrace! Not Death itself can end. He finds no peaceful Burial-Place, His breathless Corse, no friend. Torn from the Root, that wicked Tongue, Which daily swore and curst!
Those Eyeballs from their Sockets wrung, That glow'd with lawless Lust! Hogarth was pleased with the results. European Magazine reported that he commented to a bookseller from Cornhill a Mr. Sewell : . I had rather, if cruelty has been prevented by the four prints, be the maker of them than the [Raphael] cartoons, unless I lived in a Roman Catholic country. In his book Shakespeare and His TimesNathan Drake credits the representation Victorian Woman I - Sisygambis - Four Stages Of Cruelty "throwing at cocks" in the first plate for changing public opinion about the practice, which was common at the time, and prompting magistrates to take a harder line on offenders.
In his "Lectures on Ethics" Immanuel Kant refers to the engravings as an example of how cruelty towards animals leads indirectly to failing duties towards humans as Hogarth "brings home to us the terrible rewards of cruelty, and this should be an impressive lesson to children. Charles Lamb dismissed the series as mere caricature, not worthy to be included alongside Hogarth's other work, but rather something produced as the result of a "wayward humour" outside of his normal habits.
I wish it had never been painted. There is indeed great skill in the grouping, and profound knowledge of character; but the whole effect is gross, brutal and revolting. A savage boy grows into a savage man, and concludes a career of cruelty and outrage by an atrocious murder, for which he is hanged and dissected. The Anatomy Act ended the dissection of murderers, and most of the animal tortures depicted were outlawed by the Cruelty to Animals Actso by the s The Four Stages of Cruelty had come to be viewed as a somewhat historical series, though still one with the power to shock,  a power it retains for a modern audience.
In his earlier work Paulson puts him as a pupil of Broughton, killed in a fight with him inand the Tate Gallery dates Hogarth's sketches to c. Most records date Taylor's championship to the middle s. Since Ireland identifies him as the master of Nourse, he undoubtedly means John Freke, an acquaintance of Hogarth's and surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital from — and a Governor — The dissection could be taking place at St Bartholomew's Hospital, where all three surgeons were based, but it also has features of the Cutlerian Theatre of the Royal College of Physicians near Newgate A Lesson In Violence - Exodus - Another Lesson In Violence the throne, which bears their arms, and its curved wall resembling a cockpit and the niches of the Barber-Surgeons' Hall which was not used for dissection after the surgeons split away to form the Company of Surgeons in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
A series of printed engravings by William Hogarth. Nichols and Son. Hogarth: a life and a world. Faber and Faber. Haley and Steele.
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