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Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine

The exhibition is made possible by The Schiff Foundation.

The catalogue is made possible by the Charles Bloom Foundation.

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Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine

Program information

Explore the fascinating and thought-provoking world of caricature and satire in its many forms from the Italian Renaissance to the present. Talks are introduced by Constance McPhee, associate curator, and Nadine M. Orenstein, curator, both in the Department of Drawings and Prints. The afternoon concludes with a lively panel discussion. Offered in conjuncwtion with the exhibition Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine (on view September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012)

Recorded October 16, 2011

Lectures:
"From Italian Caricatura to British Caricature"
Douglas Fordham, assistant professor and director of graduate studies, McIntire Department of Art, University of Virginia

"From Caricature to Comics: A Brief History"
Patricia Mainardi, professor of art history, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York

"A Guerrilla Street Posterer's Field Guide on the Use Value of Art History (and Art Museums) in the Perpetration of Contemporary Caricature"
Robbie Conal, guerrilla poster artist


The exhibition is made possible by The Schiff Foundation.
The catalogue is made possible by the Charles Bloom Foundation.

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Infinite Jest
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Infinite Jest

Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine

September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012

Accompanied by a catalogue

The exhibition explores 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. The show includes 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.

See Now at the Met for a related article by Curator Nadine Orenstein.