Within the British social class system there are now said to be seven levels. The lowest class being the Proletariats who work from hand to mouth, surviving on casual labour and benefits. Libertine follows the path of an individual and guides the viewer through an episode in their life revealing the poor decisions often made and the resulting consequences.
Influenced by William Hogarth’s “A Rakes Progress” which tells the story of a young mans journey of vice and self-destruction after inheriting his father’s fortune. The scenes are brought up to date highlighting the lack of guidance and knowledge in being able to assess and make the right decisions when faced with change. This failure can often be blamed on the whole class system in the fact that even when given opportunity society often fails to offer advice or sense.
The first plate is an introduction to the character, describing his lifestyle and morals through carefully arranged objects, literature and images of famous and infamous figures through time. Throughout the images the selfishness and disregard for virtuous responsibility, which slowly recoils pushing the character further down than where he started becomes all too apparent.
The images show vice, crime, temptation and the ill advised decisions which eventually accumulate to the character losing everything. The persons and possessions held dear and which actually mean something are realised too late and society again fails the individual resulting in the final plate of destitute circumstances.