Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Rake's Progress, Part 3: The Tavern Scene

It's been a while since we last saw our rambunctious rake, but he is back and up to some antics. Much of this painting is self-explanatory. The other title for it is The Orgy. Good ol' Tom is seen here canoodling with some lovely ladies of the night. These prostitutes are quite the entertainers, as you can see they have gotten Tom quite intoxicated. While Tom is in the aftermath of ecstasy, the syphilis-covered ladies take advantage. One of the prostitutes slips her hand down Tom's shirt and swipes his pocket-watch. Well, hopefully his father's will-money can cover that loss just as it has covered the bill for the evening.

But once we get past Tom's debauchery, we can start to disect the bad behaviour of the ladies with whom he keeps company. They are a bad set. First of all, we have no idea if the foremost whore is dressing or undressing; either option is not appropriate, even in a Roman-style tavern. One lady feels she has been miffed for attention and is therefore lighting fire to a map on the wall in order to gain some. Two of the ladies are having a spat and one (quite literally) spits her drink into the other's face. Perhaps she is not the whore to insult because she is holding a knife. These ladies do not keep a clean house either. Look at what a mess they made! I hope that when Tom finally decides to settle down, it with someone better behaved than this brand of woman!

The Rake's Progress Part 1
The Rake's Progress Part 2
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  1. While studying Hogarth and this painting in an art history class we were told that the lady up front is undressing to prepare to dance on the table. If you look in the back corner there is a man entering with a large silver tray. The tray would be set on the table and the lady would dance over it allowing glimpses under her shift.

  2. I never heard that one! How very scandalous, indeed

  3. I'm sorry but how can you possibly do anything with those women who are covered in black dots for obvious reasons? That's just nasty! Ew, it's making me nauseous.

  4. That's where those massive amounts of liquor come into play!

  5. The map lighting is a rather odd touch...of all the things for a lady of bad morals to do, she sets fire to a map...? Perhaps Hogarth had some unsual experience of this ;)