Caricatures can be insulting or flattering and can serve a political point or be drawn solely for entertainment. Caricatures of politicians are frequently used in editorial cartoons, whilst caricatures of movie stars are often found in entertainment magazines. The term is derived from the Italian caricare- to charge or load. So, the word “caricature” essentially says a “loaded portrait”. Strictly speaking , the term refers just to depictions of real-life people, and not to cartoon fabrications of fictional characters.
However the world-renowned animator Walt Disney claimed that animation work could be compared with caricature, saying the most difficult thing to do was find the caricature of an animal that worked best as a human-like character. One of the earliest instances of a caricature has been uncovered in the ruins of Pompeii where a graffiti caricature of a politician had been carved on a wall. Moving forward nearly 1500 years but remaining in Italy, Leonardo da Vinci was an dynamic exponent of the art.
The point of a caricature was to offer an impression of the original which was more striking than a portrait. Diodemmar Casem, one of the best early exponents, claimed to be able to sum up a person in ” three or four strokes of the pen”. Caricature underwent its first successes in the closed aristocratic circles of France and Italy, where such portraits would be passed about for mutual enjoyment.