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A caricature drawing depicts real people in a manner that distorts or embellishes their inherent features. The genesis of today's caricatures dates back to the late 16th century. Italian art professor brothers Annibal and Agostino Carracci originally coined the term to describe their comically exaggerated portraits that were intended to poke fun at the artistic theories they prescribed.
Caricature finds older antecedents in the work of Hieronymus Bosch and Giuseppe Arcimboldo, whose paintings radically re-conceptualized the proportions of the physical world and the human body. This desire to distort human proportions tellingly emerged during the High Renaissance, as it was during this period that the capacity to capture human likeness was perfected.
Caricatures have also long been used as a form of political expression, from Honore Daumier’s unflattering portraits of King Louis Philippe to scathing portraits of modern day politicians. The tradition of caricature remains a vital practice today in the world of high art as well as informal street portraiture and magazine illustration.
Ralph Steadman, the artist commissioned to illustrate Hunter S. Thompson’s books, is one of the most renowned caricature artists of the late 20th century
William Hogarth is one of the first English caricature artists. He employs the artistic strategy to produce moralistic works that advocated piety and virtue
Caricature continues to symbolize an integral aspect of American visual culture, appearing weekly in popular newspapers and magazines