According to the early modern discourse on art, Annibale Carracci was the inventor of caricature, intended as ritrattino caricato, a portrait that accentuates the disproportional features of an individual likeness. The reasons for this late birth of caricature, questioned since the seminal studies of Kris and Gombrich, can be found in the resisting magical dimension of images, in the aesthetic claims of drawing and in the cultural transformation of laughter. Nonetheless, artists were playing with the features of their models and with the rules of their art well before the Carracci, scribbling and doodling in the margins of their artistic production. Analyzing this neglected material, the seminar will discuss the practice of caricature inside the Renaissance artist's workshop and will investigate this graphic process in the light of the wider “popular” production of unschooled drawings.
Diane Bodart is David Rosand Assistant Professor of Italian Renaissance Art History at Columbia University. The recipient of fellowships from the Académie de France (Villa Médicis) in Rome, the Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte in Paris, and the Harvard University Center for Renaissance Studies (Villa I Tatti) in Florence, she was educated in Art History at the University "La Sapienza" in Rome and at the "École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales" in Paris. Her research focuses on Renaissance and early modern art in Italy and in the Spanish Hapsburg Empire, with special attention to the relation between art and politics and between image theory and practice. Among other topics, her recent publications have concerned portraiture, public monument and urban space, reflection in Renaissance painting, and laughter in Renaissance art. She is currently Visiting Scholar at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz.