Caricature of a Man Wearing an Overcoat

Object Details


Caricature of a Man Wearing an Overcoat


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italian, 1696 - 1770)




about 1753–1762


Pen and black ink and brush with gray wash

Object Number:



21 × 14 cm (8 1/4 × 5 1/2 in.)

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Giovanni Battista Tiepolo captured this man's flamboyant character with few lines. Thin strokes exaggerate his birdlike features, which include a nose that resembles a beak, spindly legs, and duck-toed feet. Fluid washes and pen lines are applied sparingly to his costume and puffy wig. The man seems oblivious to his ridiculous looks, an exaggeration that is typical of caricature--a comical style of portraiture.

Leonardo da Vinci first sketched caricatures in the 1500s, and Italian artists centuries afterward furthered the genre. Working two hundred years after Da Vinci, Tiepolo drew caricatures like this funny-looking man in addition to the serious subjects for which he is known. He made these drawings as independent works of art, sometimes for his own amusement. His drawings cast anonymous people as stereotypes, such as lawyers, dandies, doctors, and hunchbacks.


Possibly John Campbell, first marquess of Breadalbane, Scottish, 1762 - 1834 (Langton House, Duns, Berwickshire)


Unknown [Dowells, Edinburgh, March 25, 1925, lot 1004]


John Grant (Edinburgh)


Arthur Kay, British, 1860 - 1939 (Edinburgh)


Unknown [sale, Christie's, London, April 9, 1943, part of lot 247]


Unknown [sold, Christie's, New York, January 23, 2002, lot 49, to Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel]


Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum

Light and Water: Drawing in Eighteenth-Century Venice (May 17 to August 21, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 1 to August 22, 2004
A Light Touch: Exploring Humor in Drawing (September 23 to December 7, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 23 to December 7, 2008

Morassi, Antonio. Dessins venitiens du dix-huitieme siecle de la collection du Duc de Talleyrand. Milan: D. Guarnati, 1958, no. 34.

Christie's, New York. Old Master and 19th Century Drawings. January 23, 2002, p. 71, ill., lot 49.

Education Resources

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Historical Witness, Social Messaging

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