Illustrations inspired by John Milton’s
Paradise Lost, Book 1, depicting
Lucifer’s fall in eight images, akin to
William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress.
Heav’n hides nothing from thy view
Set himself in glory above his peers
The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of hell, a hell of Heaven
Who durst defy th’ Omnipotent to arms
Raised impious war in Heav’n and battle proud
Paradise Lost
Hurled headlong flaming from th’ ethereal sky
The dungeon horrible, on all sides round
Create a new version of A Rake’s Progress, comprising of 8 images that tell Hogarth’s same story but in a new way. Bearing the following narrative elements in mind: Costume, Body Language, Setting, Composition, Character Design, Drama, Use of Colour, Satire, Props and the Depiction of Time.
I began by re-reading Paradise Lost, Book 1 and noting the similarities between the two pieces, for example the opportunity for a good life, the path to ruin, the second chance and the continuation to demise but importantly, not death, as that is arguably a more favourable end in these situations. I noted the analogies and cinematic imagery used by Milton and focussed on researching the further meanings and any related visual representations. From this I began to build a log of symbolic images from many cultures and era that would allow me to convey the story in as great a depth as possible. I also discovered a semiotic square for life and death (Taken from ‘The Dictionary of Semiotics’ by Bronwyn Martin and Feliz), that I utilised to layout the images to further display the story and provide consistency to the eight pieces. I amalgamated symbols to form four crest-like visuals for each corner of the grid to frame each image with life, death, non-life and non-death. I then planned out the layout of each drawing according to the grid.