William Hogarth – Burlesque on Kent’s Altarpiece at St. Clement Danes.
William Kent had painted at altarpiece for St. Clement Danes‘ church, depicting a celestial choir with five singing angels, a crowd of attendant cherubs, and the Holy Spirit in the shape of a Dove.
The parishioners had commissioned the piece, because they were impressed by Kent’s Court connections, however, they were greatly disappointed when the painting was unveiled, perhaps seeing a likeness in one of the angels to Priness Clementina Sobieski, wife of the Old Pretender, but more probably because Kent was, at times, a spectacularly bad painter.
The congregation petitioned the Bishop of London, Edmund Gibson, to remove it; and it was duly removed to the vestry during September 1725, although it was borrowed from time to time by the Crown & Anchor Tavern for its Music Room.
In a numbered, satirical key beneath the design, Hogarth highlights Kent’s appallingly bad draughtsmanship and his out of proportion figures. The painting was destroyed by bombing in 1940.
William Hogarth, (born November 10, 1697, London, England—died October 26, 1764, London). The first great English-born artist to attract admiration abroad. Best known for his MORAL and satirical engravings and paintings—e.g., A Rake’s Progress (eight scenes,1733).
His attempts to build a reputation as a history painter and portraitist, however, met with financial disappointment. His aesthetic theories had more influence in Romantic literature than in painting.