Artwork of the Week: December 6

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Bedlam, Plate VIII from A Rake's Progress

William Hogarth (British, 1697–1764), Bedlam, Plate VIII from A Rake’s Progress, engraving, 1735 (published 1820). 14 1/4 x 16 1/8 in. Hitchcock Gallery

Created as a social commentary on 18th-century consumerism, this print is the last in a set of eight engraved by William Hogarth. The series, A Rake’s Progress, centers on a prosperous merchant’s heir and his reckless lifestyle of extravagance. Here, the heir’s overindulgence has led to him being committed to the infamous London mental institution known as Bedlam. The Museum also has a complete set of the original copper plates from which the prints were published in 1820. The print is featured in the exhibition Highs & Lows: Printmaking Processes, curated by University of Toledo Museum Studies students in collaboration with UT New Media students and TMA staff (on view until March 2, 2014).


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