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Comically distorted drawing or likeness intended to satirize or ridicule its subject. The word, derived from the Italian caricare (to load or charge), was probably coined by the Carracci family, who defended the practice as a counterpart to idealization. In the 18th century the caricature became connected with journalism and was put to virulent use by political commentators. In the 1880s photo-process engraving made it possible to produce and illustrate daily newpapers cheaply, bringing caricatures to the general public. In the 20th century caricature increasingly moved into the editorial, sports, and theatrical sections of newspapers. Important caricaturists include Jacques Callot, George Cruikshank, Honoré Daumier, Gustave Doré, and Al Hirschfeld.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on caricature, visit Britannica.com.