barber institute of fine arts
university of birmingham

Agostino Carracci (1557-1602)

Sheet of Caricature Heads

Parma, 1594

Pen and brown ink on paper

20.2 x 28 cm 


This sheet of about sixty head studies features idealised and naturalistic, but mainly fantastical and grotesque faces. The most realistic, at the lower centre, may be a self-portrait of Agostino Carracci. He and his brother Annibale are regarded as the first artists to have created caricatures. The caricature was not simply a way of drawing for comic effect but was also used to encourage careful scrutiny of the subject’s individual facial characteristics. This instructive process helped artists to understand how such details make each individual unique.

Purchased in 2016 (No. 2016.10) 

Philip Galle (1537-1612)

The story of the Prodigal Son - The prodigal son leaving his father’s house

Learn more

Philip Galle (1537-1612)

The Story of the Prodigal Son - The Prodigal Son Squandering His Inheritance on Harlots

Learn more

Orazio Farinati (1559 – after 1616)

The Madonna and Child with St John the Baptist

Learn more

Conrad Martin Metz (1749-1827)

The Death of the Children of Niobe

Learn more