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Caricatures

292 artworks, 8 artists
Caricature (Italian “caricature”, from “caricare” – “to load, exaggerate”) is a style of fine art in which an artist deliberately creates a comic effect by using a distorted image of an object or event. The caricaturist exaggerates details and features to focus on negative, reprehensible and derisible political or social events, everyday phenomena and personalities. He intentionally distorts the image and at the same time retains recognition. The caricature “connects the unconnectable”: truth and fiction, suffering and pleasure, beauty and ugliness, it helps to expose, censure, ridicule and correct. The popularity of such works grows during periods of war, revolution, political and social tension.

Art historians consider caricature to be one of the most ancient directions, samples of which are present on the walls of the ancient Egyptian buildings. From the sixteenth century, the works by cartoonists reflected the public opinion: clergymen and biblical characters, rulers and politicians, negligent workers and unfaithful wives were the subjects of the caricatures. The caricature masters were the great artists of Europe and America, the elements of this style are present in the works of Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Francisco Goya, Alexei Venetsianov. Authorities have always paid special attention to such works, and artists risked their creative freedom and their own heads.

Most often, caricatures are portraits or genre scenes: in such forms, an artist has maximum opportunities to indicate a social problem. During the periods of the repressive state systems, artists resorted to symbols and allegories. To hide the obvious meaning they chose fairy-tale, folklore, or literary characters as subjects of their cartoons.

In portrait images, the artists sharpen the facial features and figures of their subjects, emphasize constitutional vices, hyperbolize facial expressions and demeanour, exaggerate the dynamics of actions and movements. In caricatures, people and animals meet, and funny grotesque creatures appear in which the viewer recognizes a greedy ruler or enemy soldier. The cartoonists of the 21st century create works using various technical advances: photographs, montage, animation, installations.

The most famous samples of caricature art: “Capriccios” series 1799 by Francisco Goya; Illustration from “Un Autre Monde”, “Long and short” 1844 by Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Granville; “Catastrophic Engineer” 1934, “NATO Warheads” 1977 “Kukryniksy”; “Andre readily fed the fish, but feared the consequences” 1990 Gerhard Glück.

Caricaturists: Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Francisco Goya, Jean Ignace Isidore Gérard Granville, Gerhard Gepp, Kukryniksy, Gerhard Glück.
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