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Marriage à la Mode: Tête à Tête, painting

William Hogarth, c. 1743
Collection: 
The National Gallery, London

Friedrich Antal comments on Hogarth’s stylistic choice for Marriage à la Mode:

Marriage à la Mode, with its greater elegance, grace and fluidity, can more adequately be characterized as the rococo sequel to baroque. In fact, it stands comparison better than the previous series [A Harlot’s Progress, 1732 and A Rake’s Progress, 1735] with contemporary rococo pictures, particularly French ones. While the two Progresses could eventually be called ‘anticipated’ rococo, Marriage à la Mode was full rococo, so far as such a style was possible in English painting. Hogarth’s new trend certainly coincided with the upper strata’s taste for continental rococo, which was at its strongest in these selfsame years. For instance, the fashion for [painter Antoine] Watteau, whom Hogarth had already appreciated fifteen years earlier, was now at its height in England, just as was the fashion for rococo interior decoration, applied to arts and furniture….Indeed, probably no other English artist of his time had the occasion and capacity to be so knowledgeable about contemporary French art.”

Frederick Antal, Hogarth and His Place in European Art (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1962), pp. 106-7.

About the Artist

Born: London, 10 November 1697
Died: London, 26 October 1764
Nationality: English