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A Bearded Man Holding a SwordEnlarge image

A Bearded Man Holding a Sword,

Italian, 1591 - 1666
pen and brown ink on buff laid paper, laid down on green pasteboard
12.9 x 16.8 cm
Purchased 1965
National Gallery of Canada (no. 14839)

The Carracci are credited with the invention of caricature, the art of exaggerating features for comic effect. This sheet by Guercino reflects their influence on this pictorial genre. The figure’s hooked nose, wrinkled face, spikey moustache and forward-thrust beard likely identify him as a representation of some theatrical production. In fact, the figure that appears in this drawing could be any one of a number of stock characters from the "commedia dell’arte".


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