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What makes a personality a Caricature?

December 1, 2009

Bull-Dog Manmohan Singh

Indexed Manmohan Singh

Oxford English Dictionary defines caricature, “a picture in which a person’s distinctive features are exaggerated for comic effect.”

Webster’s New World Dictionary & Thesaurus – “a picture or imitation of a person, in which certain features or mannerisms are exaggerated for satirical effect.”

Wikipedia explains, “Caricature can refer to a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness”. Caricatures can be insulting or complementary and can serve a political purpose or be drawn solely for entertainment.”

The term, caricature is derived from the Italian caricare- to charge or load

Expose not thy self by four-footed manners unto monstrous draughts, and Caricatura representations.

When men faces are drawn with resemblance to other animals, the Italians call it, to be drawn in “caricatura”.

Consider the phraseologies in the three references:
1) “a person’s distinctive features are exaggerated for comic effect”
2) “…imitation of a person, in which certain features or mannerisms are exaggerated for satirical effect”
3) “a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person…to create an easily identifiable visual likeness”

In your morning newspapers or in news magazines they carry caricatures drawn out in terms of physical features that were visible in photos of different angles or mannerisms (caricaturists who know or observed the person from very near personally) of personalities exaggerated or distorted. But where were the caricatures in terms of caricatura or “the essence of personality”… very rare.

What about “the essence of person” that may be… the power position follies, vices, stupidities, policy point of views, and strengths& weaknesses… that may be social/cultural, economical or political etc.

Eg: – India’s Vote Against Iran in support of US, a resolution at the IAEA – an article published in Editorial Page of Deccan Herald (dt:01-12-2009), a Bangalore based English daily headlined it as “America’s Doormat”  written by a former diplomat. Even in the middle of the article it was narrated the action of India as “…dhobi work” (washer man work). In this vignette how a caricaturist can depict the prostration business of Indian leadership in a personality caricature is the question of real humor in visual creativity i.e. bringing out “the essence of personality”.

A caricaturist has to consider, while drawing a caricature, not only the physical features and mannerisms of the personality he has to view him/her in all the perspective angles to bring out the critical, complimentary or insulting personified caricature.

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