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This self-portrait was completed in 1764, the year of Hogarth’s death. By then he had reigned for over three decades as England’s most popular, successful, and honored artist. In his last years, however, he was subjected to criticism and ridicule for his attempts at serious, high-minded painting and art theory. His resulting cynicism is reflected in this self-portrait, first issued in 1758 but changed in 1764. His smile has disappeared, and the mask held by the Comic Muse has been transformed from a laughing face to a leering satyr.
William George Sullivan; given to the John Herron Art Institute, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art, in 1930.