Tuesday, December 3, 2013

If It's Good Enough for The Met...

No less an august institution than the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently featured an hommage to the mischievous art form that is the subject of this monthly commentary and pictorial display.
Infinite Jest -- Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine, according to the program notes, explored "caricature and satire in its many forms from the Italian Renaissance to the present, drawn primarily from the rich collection of this material in the Museum's Department of Drawings and Prints.

Welcome to the Winter Solstice edition of Not Your Usual Caricature Artist.
The show included drawings and prints by Leonardo da Vinci, Eugène Delacroix, Francisco de Goya, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Enrique Chagoya "alongside works by artists more often associated with humor, such as James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson, Honoré Daumier, Al Hirschfeld, and David Levine. Many of these engaging caricatures and satires have never been exhibited and are little known except to specialists.

"In its purest form, caricature—from the Italian carico and caricare, 'to load' and 'to exaggerate'—distorts human physical characteristics and can be combined with various kinds of satire to convey personal, social, or political meaning. Although caricature has probably existed since artists began to draw (ancient examples are known), the form took shape in Europe when Leonardo da Vinci's drawings of grotesque heads were copied by followers and distributed as prints.
"The exhibition's title derives from Hamlet, which is quoted in a Civil War print that uses the famous line: 'I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest' to mock Lincoln."

Some samples from the exhibit:



In more recent times -- though not likely museum-worthy -- these commissioned pieces were produced by yours truly: the retiring tax accountant executive at Belk, and three of the cook staff at Hawthorne's Pizza:

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season.
See you the first Tuesday on the other side of the New Year.
Joel Kweskin