Friday, July 18, 2008

Marriage a la Mode, Part 3: The Inspection

In our continued journey through Hogarth's Marriage a la Mode, we rejoin the couple...wait a minute, that is not our couple. It appears that our Doherty-predecessor Viscount has taken up with a mistress. A rather young mistress. Once again, Hogarth's snarky sense of humor takes satire to a whole new level.

The Viscount's sexual appetite has landed him and his young mistress in the French doctor, M. de la Pillule's office looking for a cure to an STD or two. The Viscount is looking quite jovial despite his situation. The child-mistress, on the other hand looks extremely upset. It seems that the medicine prescribed to rid them of their venereal diseases hasn't been working and they are search of an alternative remedy. They exchange different pill boxes with the dirty-looking quack doctor. Many morbid symbols are housed in this office including sarcophagi and skulls. In fact this "doctor" seems to be more of a collector of the marvelous than a pharmacist. The office is littered with masks, and bones, and narwhal horns. Inside the cabinet behind the viscount, a skeleton embraces a muscle model; could this be a chilling omen? The overbearing figure in the composition is a rather wide, angry woman. She seems to be afflicted with a venereal diseases of her own, judging from the black spot on her face. It is supposed that she is the child-mistress' mother. But could she both the mother of the mistress and the mistress? The viscount does seem at ease with her.

Next, Part 4 >>

Marriage a la Mode Part 1
Marriage a la Mode Part 2

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