Museums and Art

“Four Seasons”, William Hogarth - description of the painting

“Four Seasons”, William Hogarth - description of the painting

Four times a day - William Hogarth. 484 x 283 mm

A series of satirical engravings describes morning, day, evening and night in London. For the modern viewer, this is an invaluable source of knowledge about the realities of that time, a kind of portrait portrait created long before the invention of photography.

Morning in london

This etching captures the ordinary life of the Covent Garden area. In a coffee shop, people have simpler breakfasts or continue their all-night drunkenness, there are cheerful ladies of easy virtue who are not shy about kissing and hugging with gentlemen right on the street, beggars and beater burn a bonfire right on the pavement. At the same time, a lady from a higher estate passes by, peacefully marching to Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Shocked and amazed at what is happening before her eyes, she presses her folded fan to her lips.

Day in london

Here another London district is already appearing - Soho. The engraving shows a clear separation of people according to social and religious principles. On the one hand, elegant Protestants are shown leaving their church after the service, and on the other, local residents, holding together in a tight group.

Evening in London

An engraving depicts a dyer who is going to the Sadler Wells Theater with his family. His wife is pregnant, and the man himself is “decorated” with horns, which clearly makes it clear the origin of his children and the unenviable role of her husband in this apparently prosperous family. A dumb dog drags ahead of the couple, and a smartly dressed kid does not want to obey his nanny. A river flows nearby, and in the background someone is milking a skinny cow. This is a vivid picture of the ordinary life of a representative of the middle class who wants to live as a prosperous bourgeois.

Night in london

The night of the feast of the Restoration of the Monarchy carries many threats to idle revelers. The engraving depicts the Charing Cross area, in the background you can see the statue of Charles I on horseback. For a couple of late well-to-do citizens, a holiday can result in a robbery or even death. They make their way along the littered streets past a diverse rabble, closely clinging to each other, threateningly putting out canes. And at this time, from the second floor, someone simply spills the contents of a night pot onto the street.

Hogarth’s work is not only a sharp satire on the morals and life of the then society. This is a kind of time machine that allows us to see with our own eyes what is happening every day in the capital of Great Britain.


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