At Pittsburgh’s Frick, William Hogarth Shows His Chops as a Painter

THE DAILY PIC: The great cartoonist shows his chops as a painter.


THE DAILY PIC (#1435): William Hogarth’s caricatures are so great that it’s easy to imagine that their wild distortions somehow come straight and inevitably from who he is, naturally, as an artist. Since I don’t believe that any artist has such a thing as a “natural” way of seeing, I was pleased to be reminded that Hogarth the caricaturist was also hugely skilled at making high-end, undistorted realist portraits. I saw this one, of the Honorable John Hamilton, in the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh.

The painting on that embroidered waistcoat alone is enough to make any esthete weak-kneed with pleasure. But come to think of it, Hogarth the cartoonist does seem to be lurking in its swirls, and in the twinkle in John Hamilton’s eye.

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