Caricature Report: Rome!

October 1st, 2013 | Posted in General


Here we go again! That’s a Sebastian Kr?¬?ger Marilyn and Stallone

I saw no caricaturists at all in the small towns in Tuscany I have vistied that last few days… so sorry about the delay in more observations. That said, here we go with another ridiculous caricature report from Italy, this time from the city of Rome!

I found a huge group of artists gathered in Piazza Navona, which is where the famous Bernini designed “Fountain of the Four Rivers” is located.


That’s Joe Bluhm’s Tom Cruise… I think that’s a Court Jone’s Einstein.


Several repeat samples on another artist’s cart???


Kr?¬?ger’s Michael Jackson…

In general, I found no one with a printed rip-off of a caricature straight from the internet. However, virtually everyone had at least one example up that was redrawn from a recognizable source…including a couple of mine:


Whoops, that’s an old Tom Cruise of mine. I know that Clooney from somewhere… Vizcarra?


The Italians love my Julia Roberts… Anna says it’s because she was in some movie set in Italy.


That Whoopie Goldberg is a bad copy of an other of mine

This one looks suspiciously like an old Antonio Banderas I had on my website years ago. I’d give the artist the benefit of the doubt, but it’s right above the obvious Julia rip-off…

 Got one drawn by one of the friendlier and (I thought based on the samples) better artists:


Me in the hot seat!

The damage…

That’s a lot of gelato… and that cone in my right…uh… dough ball… has a lot, too!

I have to break my Rome caricature report card into two grades:

Caricature work: C. The one I had done was the best attempt at a real caricature I got in Italy, as opposed to the super stylized, cookie-cutter sort of stuff I’d seen in Florence and (briefly) Venice. However, while I’d give the caricature perhaps a low B, the overall grade is dragged down by the hideous body on this drawing. Are those hands, or bubbles at the end of my arms?? Yikes, that body is a total afterthought. I’d have cut him some slack if there was a long line, but I was it for the foreseeable future.

Caricature displays: D-. This was saved from an F by the absence of any printed work straight from the web, but almost every artist had giant, full color samples up and yet no one worked in color (the 10 Euro price had a small “no color” by it in all cases. Talk about false advertising! Also lots of redrawn rip-offs… sigh.

This concludes my Italian caricature reports… I want to put a disclaimer here to say that I know several EXCELLENT Italian caricaturists so the work I have seen and have reported on should in no way be interpreted as saying there are no really good caricaturists in Italy. I just didn’t see any outstanding ones on my travels.


  1. Dan says:

    These reports have been quite interesting. I’m curious – do these street caricaturists really intend to pass off what they’re displaying as their own work? It seems so obvious to me at a glance that, for instance, the Einstein, the Nicholson and the Rowan Atkinson in the third photo are drawn in such wildly differing styles that it seems impossible that anyone could look at such a display and say, “Wow, that guy’s good!” I mean, obviously using someone else’s work to sell your own isn’t kosher no matter how you play it, but it just boggles the mind to think that anyone could think all those pieces are the product of the same hand.

    • Tom says:

      This is a common practice. In Piazza Navona it was as bad as it gets with the exception of having prints straight off the internet. All these samples were obviously done by other artists but they are also very far from the methods used by the artists. They are much bigger, in color, AND in a different style.

  2. Loving your caricature reports… The European market is riddled with hacks who can barely get a likeness and prey on tourists. From what I understand it’s all heavily unionised in Europe, but it may have changed (?)

    Here’s my report from Paris (An addendum to your earlier report from Plac Du Tertre, Tom):

  3. carrera arcangelo says:

    Dear Mr. Richmond, Piazza Navona in Rome, Piazza San Marco in Venice and Ponte Vecchio in Florence are notoriously places frequented by “poor” sometimes Italian and sometimes foreigners. Here are called non-EU … and often are Iranians, Moroccans, Tunisians and Chechens. to make ends meet they make do with crude attempts to do caricatures sometimes copied from “books – manuals” by famous artists such as is the case of his Julia Roberts. in Italy there are art institutes that prepare the design and Leonardesca tradition of painting with a lot of expertise and capacity. What she saw was the result of folkrore and the Art of getting typical these days that are (bad times). an affectionate greeting and full of admiration for a great artist like her that if it is “copied” means that it is admired. His Arcangelo Carrera from ITALY

    • Tom says:

      Thanks. Of course I know these are all tourist traps and all of these places I visited are Italy’s version of Times Square.

  4. Wow, I had a nice memory of Piazza Navona on my trip in 1992 along with the rest of Italy. It now resembles another big city flea market. All the famous city centers are getting overrun by “artists” posting printouts, bad redraws and cheap imitations. Thank you technology for making plagiarism as rampant as ever. Yes, Tom, your posted caricature above is hideous. Thanks for posting, now, no more stops at these booths or you’ll ruin your trip!

  5. Brian says:

    You should carry a stack of your book and help those guys out. For a nominal fee of course.

  6. Yury says:

    I look at all those mostly not-so-perfect street caricatures and I start to ask myself: what if my drawings ( are also so poor and worthless? Or maybe I just little depressed or I just ask for critique?

  7. jailerjoe says:

    Michelin Man-looking, but the closest face out of all you posted, Really enjoyed the reports. Nice hot seat pic. Fun seeing the cobblestone and characters in the background


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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