Characters and Caricatures

Accession Number

Characters and Caricatures

William Hogarth

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
engraving on paper

9 1/16 in. x 8 1/16 in. ( 23 cm x 20.5 cm )

Credit Line
Gift of Ellen Perley Frank for the collection of Ralph E. Shikes

Subject matter
Hogarth created this print originally in 1743 as a receipt for advance orders of his "Marriage à la mode" series, but it was later issued as a print in its own right. He had been critcized as having portrayed figures in a an exaggered manner, like a caricature, and responded with this work as a comparison of "characters" versus "caricaturas". In the lower left area, Hogarth depicted characters from Raphael's tapestry cartoons with caricatures by Leonardo da Vinci, Annibale Carraci and a contemporary artist, Pier Leone Ghezzi, on the right. He also included a line drawing in this area to demonstrate the simple process for creating a caricature. The remaining area of the print is filled with faces with all manner of expression and appearance to show the subtlety of character portrayal. The text at the bottom refers to Henry Fielding's preface to the book, Joseph Andrews, published in 1742, in which Fielding had praised Hogarth as a comic history painter. " For a Farther Explanation of the Difference Betwixt Character and Caricatura See ye Preface to Jo. Andrews".

Physical Description
This is a black ink print on a cream colored background, filled with images of human heads.The upper portion contains a multitude of facial profiles with various features and expressions. At the bottom, there are seven men, depicted larger than the others and text at the bottom of the page identifying the figures on the left as "Characters" and the ones on the right as "Caricaturas". Between the fifth and sixth figures there is a simple line drawing of a face. Another line of text reads: " For a Farther Explanation of the Difference Betwixt Character and Caricatura See ye Preface to Jo. Andrews".

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
black and white print

Additional Object Classification(s)

Collection Area

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faces (animal components)
intaglio printing

& Author Notes

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