Lilly Library

The word caricature comes into the English language from the Italian caricare, meaning to charge, load or exaggerate. Examples of Egyptian, Greek and Roman caricature are found primarily in literature, but in its modern definition, caricature is a pictorial representation of a person or thing through the gross exaggeration of its most characteristic features. Its source lies in Renaissance art and its survival was ensured by the printing press. Although Samuel Johnson included the word in his 1757 Dictionary, it was not until the late 18th century that caricature came into its own. In times of social and political upheaval the caricaturist boldly portrays the world as he sees it, in vivid hues of satire and moral purpose. The text, if present, is secondary. For it is the portrait which conveys the meaning, often playing on accepted symbols or repeated imagery and its intent is to provoke a specific response from the viewer.

Suggested Reading
Blaisell, Thomas C:The American Presidency in Political Cartoons: 1776-1976
University Art Museum, Berkeley, 1976.

Deur, Lynne: Political Cartoonists
Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis, 1972.

Dictionary of American Biography. New York : Scribner's, 1990.

Hess, Stephen-Sandy Northrop: Drawn and Quartered. The History of American Political Cartoons
Elliott & Clark Publishing, Montgomery, 1996.

Hess, Stephen-Milton Kaplan: The Ungentlemanly Art. A History of American Political Cartoons
Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1975.

The Image of America in Caricature & Cartoon
Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, Forth Worth, Swann Foundation, New York, Lincoln National Corporation, Forth Wayne, 1975.

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