Thomas Rowlandson after George Moutard Woodward
Simple Bodily Pain [&] Acute Pain
8 x 10
A pair of hand-coloured engravings, etched onto copper by Thomas Rowlandson after the designs of G. M. Woodward and published in London in 1810.
These fabulous caricatures formed part of a very amusing collection entitled "Le Brun Travested. Or Caricatures of the Passions" and were published in London by Rudolph Ackermann in conjunction with Rowlandson and Woodward.
As the title suggests, they are a comical distortion of Charles le Brun's original, altogether more serious work from the C17th. Le Brun (1619-1690) firmly believed that the passions of the soul directly affected the muscles of the face so when feeling inner anger, for instance, the face would automatically show physical characteristics. What Woodward and Rowlandson have done, to great comedic effect, is to take Le Brun's original emotions and give them a vulgar C18th, London twist. In Simple Bodily Pain we see a termagant wife haranguing her henpecked husband, brandishing a cudgel and hitting him in the face with her fist. The pain is obvious and immediate! In Acute Pain we must look a little closer to locate the cause. A dim-witted servant is bringing tea and comestibles to his master unaware that he is pouring scalding water from the teapot into the poor fellow's crotch. The pain in this instance is indeed both acute and immediate!
As always, the combined talents (and jocular eye) of Rowlandson and Woodward have produced caricatures that successfully bridge the gap between bawdy humour and artistic ability. They are delightful observations on human nature and remain as funny today as they were when they were first published in 1810.