This week ( I believe on Monday) we discussed the French Sensiliet and English Sensibility movements of the 1700s. While looking through the images from these movements, the works of one particular painter stood out to me: William Hogarth. In class we were shown The Marriage Contract, one in a series of six paintings by the man. I found his work interesting, as it seemed a satire of the other paintings of this period--and I was somewhat correct. Apparently, this man was one of many who believed in marriage for love, and that a marriage without love was doomed to fail. To show his beliefs to the public, he created a series of paintings called Marriage a la Mode, which follows the doomed marriage of a poor aristocrat to a girl equally lacking. Their marriage, created for the purpose of benefiting their families, is loveless. To sum up the entire story, man marries woman, both cheat on each other, man finds out, kills woman's lover, man is hanged for murder, and woman commits suicide. Happy ending! Not. I love Hogarth's storytelling and his sense of humor when displaying to his audience the truth all around them.
My favorite painting in this series is not one shown in class, but the third painting in the series, called The Inspection(above) wherein the husband of the story goes to the doctor to complain about his syphilis medicine not working. At his side is a prostitute, who also has syphilis (As this man has had syphilis throughout the entire story, I believe that she caught the STD from him). I enjoy this painting because of the exaggerated expressions of the characters in the scene, as they remind me of comics in modern day times. In fact, this series is a sort of comic, as it can be viewed as sequential art. Maybe that's why I like it so much.
Which then brings me to my Modern Day Connection (capitalized because of importance) of the week! This series of paintings reminds me of...this blog by Bill Maher! Its short and more than a year old, but still reminds me of the paintings. As I see it, both of these artists ( I consider writing and comedy arts) have their own reasons for why arranged marriages are, maybe, not a very good idea. Hogarth believed that if you married someone you don't love everyone will end up dying in the end (like Hamlet but more people and one less war), and Maher sees arranged marriage as leading to Terrorism in some cases. Come to think of it, both artists claim that arranged marriage leads to death. Perhaps humanity will be forever torn on the subject of arranged marriages: they're good for the economy and the social status of your family, but they really, really shorten your lifespan.
That said, I'm done for this week. I have also consistently misspelled marriage in this post. Anyway, until next week, beware of stray marriages! They're deadly!