Obelisk Art History
William Hogarth

The Analysis of Beauty
The infinite complexities of beauty in six principles

The Analysis of Beauty, William Hogarth

William Hogarth was a satarist, a writer and engraver who lampooned the politics and religion of his day through editorial cartoons and grotesque caricatures. In 1753 Hogarth published one of the most thoughtful and extensive aesthetic analyses of formal beauty ever written. In 17 chapters, Hogarth lays out six principles that independently affect the human perception of beauty, and continues to break down compositional techniques, and draftsmanship lessons for the human form, the human face, and depicting action. It’s an incredibly complete and profoundly useful guidebook from the theoretical to the practical aspects of visual art.

Reed Enger, "The Analysis of Beauty, The infinite complexities of beauty in six principles," in Obelisk Art History, Published March 15, 2017; last modified June 28, 2019, http://arthistoryproject.com/artists/william-hogarth/the-analysis-of-beauty/.

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Chapter 1: Fitness

Chapter 2: Variety

Chapter 3: Uniformity

Chapter 4: Simplicity

Chapter 5: Intricacy

Chapter 6: Quantity

Chapter 7: Lines

Chapter 8: Composition

Chapter 9: The Waving Line

Chapter 10: Compositions with the Waving Line

Chapter 11: Proportion

Chapter 12: Light and Shadow

Chapter 13: Light, Shadow and Color

Chapter 14: Coloring Skin

Chapter 15: The Face

Chapter 16: Attitude

Chapter 17: Action

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