“ … full of deep satires and the most useful

Hogarth has ever produced ”

Hogarth, William (1697 London 1764). Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism. A Medley. The highly alert parishioners of the Methodists – in contrast to the Sleeping Congregation of the High Church in their divine service. Engraving by Ernst Ludwig Riepenhausen (1765 Göttingen 1840, university engraver there). Inscribed: 68 / W. Hogarth inv. pinx. / ER. f. 10 × 8⅛ in (25.5 × 20.5 cm).

Impression on especially strong paper, supposedly about 1850. – Riepenhausen’s engravings after Hogarth (“very estimable”, Nagler) belong to his chief work and not least for being in the original direction they are partly even preferred to Hogarth’s own engravings.

However, as characteristic for Riepenhausen’s plates worked as illustrations to Lichtenberg’s Ausführliche Erklärung der Hogarthischen Kupferstiche, without Hogarth’s added device:

William Hogarth, Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism (Riepenhausen)

“ Believe not every Spirit ; but try the Spirits whether they are of God :
because many false Prophets are gone out into the World .

Hogarth’s late work from 1762, i. a. with the figure of the rabbit woman to whom he already dedicated an engraving in 1726 as one of his early works and “who he thus found valuable enough at the end of his life to bring her on again on suitable occasion”. Otherwise Lichtenberg starts his reflections on this so extraordinarily detail-rich sheet with the words

“ The most exaggerated excitement of a Methodist parish forms the most extreme contrast to the religious coolness which results from the conditions of the High Church as natural … The efficacy of the sect founded by Wesley has proven itself as exceedingly charitable from the beginning till now, preachers, supported by their parishes only, have … by perpetual contact with the lower classes of the people … exerted that influence of the clergy so charitable to morals and circumstances that is expected from the true church of Christianity. But on the other hand the Methodists proved the empirical theorem expressed by David Hume: as soon as the existence of the clergyman depends only on the people he tries to raise its loyalty by all ballyhooing of fanaticism … ”

To conclude finally with the remark

“ Strange is the judgement of Horace Walpole – see at the beginning – who otherwise possesses a deeper art knowledge and a chastened taste … One can explain this judgement only from the dislike of the aristocratic lord for the Methodist religion of the mob and even Christianity in general that he shall have nourished though he nevertheless took care not to express this publicly. ”

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– – – The same by Riepenhausen as before, but on slightly toned minor paper.

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William Hogarth, Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism (lithograph)

– – – The same in lithography. (1833/36.) Inscribed: 66. / Aberglaube und Fanatismus. 11⅝ × 7¼ in (29.6 × 18.5 cm). – Extensive caption à la Lichtenberg in German.

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– – – The same in steel engraving about 1840. 6¼ × 5 in (15.9 × 12.8 cm). – Title in German + English.

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(Mevr. L H., 14. August 2018)