Neoclassicism in music was an important and striking 20th-century trend…and Stravinsky has often been portrayed as its most eloquent proponent and The Rake’s Progress as its culmination.
"Boston Globe: Did the Star-Spangled Banner land Stravinsky in jail?" An irresistible headline, a famous photograph…but it may all be just a kind of urban legend, “fake news” before its time. The real story is rather more complex and interesting.
In 1947, Stravinsky visited the Art Institute of Chicago and viewed a series of engravings by the 18th-century artist William Hogarth, entitled A Rake’s Progress. These eight scenes, which traced the descent of Tom Rakewell from respectability to debauchery to madness, struck him immediately with their dramatic potential—and thus, the seed was planted for what became his neo-classical operatic triumph, The Rake’s Progress. What were these artworks that so sparked his imagination, and who created them?