Location: Nelson-Atkins Building, P13
This group of prints and drawings, chiefly from the 16th to 18th centuries, encompasses a broad span of social comment from caricatures to documentary realism. Various levels of society are represented: carousing peasants, ladies of fashion, celebrities or anonymous adolescents. Some examples are complex, offering thinly veiled criticism of religious or secular institutions, while others represent the animal world, both real and imaginary. Some works are by little known artists, others by more famous names, like Tiepolo for example, who did caricatures in "off duty" moments. Many combine keen observation with fantasy and humor in a way that transforms the everyday into the exotic.
Image: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Venetian, 1696-1770. Tall Gentleman Seen from Back. Bistre pen and wash on laid paper. Bequest of Estelle S. Ellis. 2005.10.2.