What is a caricature? Meaning of the word

Despite the fact that the word "caricature" is not actively used in Russian for the first decade, not all residents of the former CIS understand and understand its interpretation. The purpose of today's publication is to give a complete and detailed answer to the question “What is caricature?”, And also to visually show examples of this genre. Interested? Then we wish you a pleasant reading!


This may surprise someone, but “caricature” is not an original Russian word. In fact, it has Italian roots and is translated as "exaggeration." Strangely enough, it is the translation of this word that fully reflects its essence, but we'll talk about it a little bit later.

Meaning of the word "caricature"

Meaning of the word "caricature"

Among art critics there are two interpretations that fully describe the meaning of this word:

  1. Caricature is a humorous image in which the author achieves a comedic effect through the use of unusual artistic techniques, as well as through exaggerated and hyperbolic features.
  2. Caricature is a genre of graphics that satiris social or political events in a satirical vein, and also comedically describes one or another type of people.


What is a caricature? We think we were able to give a full and detailed answer to this question. And now let's talk about the history of this genre. Like now, caricatures of the past have ridiculed many social phenomena. In addition, drawing such humorous pictures was a great way to laugh at one or another person. For example, the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte felt a particular hatred of caricatures. Many artists portrayed him as a short man in a giant cocked hat, which, for obvious reasons, could not please His Majesty. Mikhail Kutuzov during the war with the French even ordered the creation of a headquarters that would be engaged in drawing caricatures of Bonaparte.

What is a caricature?

How did the caricature appear in the Slavic countries?

The caricature genre came to the territory of the Russian Empire from France in the 19th century. At that time it was directly related to journalism. At first, funny pictures were published in print editions, and under them was added an explanation of what was depicted on them. After some time, the need for such inscriptions disappeared.Detailing funny caricature art was getting better and it was no longer necessary to further describe what their main idea was. But, despite such an active development of this genre, it was not without its problems. In those days, censorship was strong, and therefore any images that allegedly threatened the political regime were not allowed to be printed. But even this could not stop the popularization of the caricature. Many publications engaged in the creation of serious print media, set aside entire pages for humorous sections. Often the main characters of the caricatures were petty traders, unlucky actors and far from honest officials. For understandable reasons, the cartoonists of those times bypassed the political and acute social themes. Caricatures based on false gossip and rumors, the reliability of which was very and very doubtful, also enjoyed considerable popularity.

In the middle of the XIX century, the first Russian satirical magazine "Yeralash" was published by the popular illustrator Nevakhovich, who himself often engaged in creating drawings for his publication.

Old cartoons

Cartoon and caricature. What is the difference?

Many people (even those who know what a caricature is) mistakenly believe that cartoon and caricature are one and the same. On the one hand, this may seem true, since both of these genres have many similar characteristics, but on the other hand, there are fundamental differences between these species, which we will now tell you about.

You already know what a caricature is, so in order to understand the essence of the issue, let's find out what a cartoon is. This word came from the French word charger, which also translates as "exaggeration." That is, it is a humorous drawing in which the artist intentionally emphasizes the characteristics of the person / animal / object that he painted. A caricaturist paints so that the final image of a person makes him smile and joy, but not a grudge or anger.

Caricatures really come from caricatures that are too grotesquely underline and hyperbolize certain traits of a person, a group of people or their actions. The main difference between a cartoon and a caricature is that it is more good-natured and much less satirical. If the main purpose of the caricature is a caustic ridicule of a social phenomenon, then the purpose of the cartoon is to simply cheer the person and cheer him up.Cartoon is also different from a genre like comics. A comic book is a whole series of comical images connected by a single plot.

Funny caricature

Your attention was provided with photos of cartoons, as well as information that explains the meaning of the word. We hope that this article was interesting to you, and you have learned a lot of new things!

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