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Caricature

A caricature is a humorous illustration that exagerates or distorts the basic essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness.


Caricature of Alan Greenspan by Jan Op De Beeck

Although caricatures can be made of inanimate objects such as cars or buildings, the art form is usually reserved for illustrations of people, especially celebrities and politicians.

Caricatures can be insulting or complimentary and can serve a political purpose or be sorely for entertainment. Caricatures of politicians are commonly used in editorial cartoons, while caricatures of movie stars are often found in entertainment magazines.

The art form was popularized in the early 18th century, when satirical drawings of politicians and local celebrities would be printed in newspapers. Caricatures would often be less than warmly received by their powerful targets, and for many years the art form was one of anonymous mischief.

In the years after World War I the art form experienced a renaissance in the United States, and in some magazines caricatures became more common and in higher demand than actual photographs. A new wave of artists like Al Hirschfeld and Miguel Covarrubias[?] showed that caricatures could be fun, colorful, and graceful, and not always the crude, vicious insults found on the editorial page.

Today, the art of caricature is still around, though nowhere near as prevalent as the "Golden Age" of the 20's and 30's. In recent years there has been a rise of amateur "On-the-spot Caricaturists" who can be found on street corners or fairs and will draw a quick sketch of anyone willing to pay their fee.

The word "caricature" can also apply to a person or thing that displays behavior or mannerisms that are ridiculously exaggerated and overly stereotypical.



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