The painter William Hogarth satirized many of the social follies of the eighteenth century which in these two painting depicts alcoholism, and the pros of choosing beer over gin. In the first painting Gin Lane Hogarth depicts therampant alcoholism that plagued the city. While in the other companion painting Beer Street Hogarth illustrates a bustling metropolis that is that not only doingwell as far as economics but also in literacy and the arts. In the two companion paintings Gin Lane and Beer Street Hogart clearly conveys his views of how gincan lead to the destruction of a society and how beer can lead to the construction of society.
In looking at these two painting the first object that strikes the eye is the people. In Gin Lane the people are illustrated as being dressed in rags and verythin probably suffering from starvation as seen with the man taking the dog s bone, and also in the man who is sitting down passed out and the end of the steps. This is a direct result of people spending all of their money on their next cup of gin. They are also suffering from disease as seen with the woman in who is dropping her baby has ulcerated legs. Everyone looks as if they are drunk, passed out, or hungover. While in the painting Beer Street everyone is dressed well and isvery plump which is a sign that they are well fed and are prosperous. They are not plagued by disease and seem very happy with life and what it brings.
The next element that comes to one s eye is what these people are doing. In Gin Lane people are rioting at the distiller in order to get more gin. A woman is soengulfed in her drunken state that her baby falls; while other people are seen trying to pawn items in order to buy more gin. In the back of the painting people can be are seen as putting a body into a casket; while a dead body hangs from the top of an old abandoned building. On the other hand people in the painting BeerStreet everyone has some sort of reading material and one man is painting apicture. Also someone is being carried by carriage which is an indicator of wealth.
The women in the picture are carrying fresh fish and vegetables which reiterates the fact that people are well fed, and in the background the expansion of a building is taking place.
The final element that strikes one s eye is that of the buildings. In Gin Laneall the buildings are falling to ruin due to neglect. The only buildings that are standing are the pawnbroker, distiller, and the undertaker. This clearly conveys what the excessive use of gin can do to a society. On the other end of the spectrum on Beer Street we see that all the buildings are intact except for that of the pawnbroker. Some of the buildings are even undergoing expansion for this growing city. The pawnbroker s building is broken down due to the fact that he isn`t getting any business which is a direct cause from the people not needing to buy gin.
In the two paintings by William Hogarth he conveys his attitude towards the growing social problem of alcoholism and how to resolve it. By using his skill in art he is able to ascertain this goal and satirize one of his times many problems without writing down a single word. In Hogarth s two companion paintings GinLane and Beer Street he contrasts the effects on society by two different alcoholicbeverages and illustrates that beer is the way toward societal reform.