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William Hogarth (1697-1764)

A male nude holding a spear c.1728

Black chalk with some white and red chalks on blue paper | 54.5 x 40.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 913488

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  • A chalk drawing on blue paper of a full-length male figure, with legs apart and his left arm raised, holding a javelin in his right hand.

    The young Hogarth, having trained as an engraver, was one of the first subscribers at the art academy founded in St Martin's Lane, London, by John Vanderbank and Louis Chéron in 1720. Though the academy had a strong emphasis on life drawing, few of Hogarth's studies from a model have survived. Despite the obvious weaknesses in his handling of anatomy, these few drawings demonstrate Hogarth's embrace of a discipline that he saw as essential in the cultivation of a home-grown Grand Style, that would allow English painters to compete with the flood of imports from Europe (and especially Italy) that dominated the eighteenth-century art trade.

    The drawing must date from the 1720s. It is very close in style to another study at Windsor for one of the first versions of the Beggar's Opera, of 1728, and is on the same rich blue paper (probably coloured with smalt in the manufacture) with the same watermark.


    Probably Samuel Ireland (his sale, 1801); Royal Collection by 1833

  • Medium and techniques

    Black chalk with some white and red chalks on blue paper


    54.5 x 40.0 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Alternative title(s)

    A nude male academy figure holding a javelin