Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Titel:
A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art
Person:
Wright, Thomas Fairholt, Frederick William
Persistente ID:
urn:nbn:de:gbv:wim2-g-1429385
PURL:
https://digitalesammlungen.uni-weimar.de/viewer/resolver?urn=urn:nbn:de:gbv:wim2-g-1430111
in Literature and Art. 
4 
17 
gold, but without much efFe6i. He is attended by his fervant with a 
torch, to give him light on the way, which (hows that it is a night 
adventure. Both matter and fervant have wreaths round their heads, and 
the latter carries a third in his hand, which, with the contents of his 
baiket, are alfo probably intended as prefents to the lady. 
A more unmiiiakable burlefque on the vifit of Jupiter to Alcmena 
is publifhed by Winckelmann from a vafe, formerly in the library of the 
Vatican, and now at St. Peterfburg. The treatment of the fubject is 
not unlike the picture juii defcribed. Alcmena appears juft in the fame 
poiiure at her chamber window, and Jupiter is carrying his ladder to 
mount up to her, but has not yet placed it againft the wall. His 
companion is identified with Mercury by the well-known caduceus he 
carries in his left hand, while with his right hand he holds a lamp up 
to the window, in order to enable Jupiter to fee the object of his amour. 
It is ailoniihing with how much boldnefs the Greeks parodied and 
ridiculed facred fubjects. The Chriilian father, Arnobius, in writing 
againft his heathen opponents, reproached them with this circumftance. 
The laws, he fays, were made to protect the characters of men from 
{lander and libel, but there was no fuch protection for the characters of 
the gods, which were treated with the greatett  This was 
efpecially the cafe in their pictorial reprefentations. 
Pliny informs us that Cteiilochus, a pupil of the celebrated Apelles, 
painted a burlefque picture of Jupiter giving birth to Bacchus, in which 
the god was reprefented in a very ridiculous poIture.'I' Ancient Writers 
intimate that iimilar examples were not uncommon, and mention the 
names of feveral comic painters, whofe Works of this clafs were in repute. 
Some of thefe were bitter perfonal caricatures, like a celebrated work of a 
 painter 
  
' Arnobius (comm Genres), lib. iv. p. 150. Carmen malum conscribere, quo fama 
alterius coinquinatur et vita, decemviralibus scitis evadere noluistis impune: ac ne 
vestras aures convitio aliquis petulantiore pulsaret, de atrocibus formulas consti- 
tuistis injuriis. Soli dii sunt apud vos superi inhonorati, contemtihiles, vilcs: in 
quos jus est vobis datum quae quisque voluerit dicere turpitudinem, jacere quas 
libido confinxerit atque excogitavcrit formas. 
1' Pliny, Hist. Nat., lib. xxxv. c. 40. 
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