This English painting by William Hogarth is the second painting in a series of six satirical works known as Marriage a-la-mode. In the painting there are several symbols and details that point out problems in the couples marriage. Lets first start on the left. The servant is walking away from the couple with a large amount of bills in his want with only one receipt on the spike he is carrying with the same hand. He has a look of disgust on his face likely about the incompetence about the couple. In front of the servant is a overturned chair and violin with what seems like music, suggesting that a person was serenading the wife and left quickly before the man came in. In the background are 3 religious paintings of apostles and one painting that is covered with a foot revealed, symbolizing lust. In the front the wife raises her arms in a self-content stretch. The front of her dress is wet suggesting that she had adulterous sex. The husband looks bored and and distracted and has recently returned from a likely trip to a brothel. The dog on the far right is sniffing at a woman's night cap which suggests he has been with another woman for the night. On his neck is a patch which was used to tell others that the individual has a sexually contracted disease. On the floor is a scabbard with the sword partially drawn, suggesting impotence. All of these show problems within the marriage. The style is much like other baroque styles with small degrees of realism incorporated.
Why This Artwork?
This painting was chosen to show the English Baroque style. England was the furthest from Italy, and so makes the most sense that the style reached it last, and looks most different from the other Baroque styles.