Full-text resources of CEJSH and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


2013 | 61 | 4: Historia Sztuki | 81-102

Article title

Między karykaturą a ironią w wybranych obrazach Quentina Metsysa


Title variants

Between caricature and irony in chosen paintings by Quentin Metsys

Languages of publication



For centuries the face has been considered an important part of the human body. Since ancient times until the present day a close connection with a man's inner (spiritual, psychological) properties has been ascribed to his face. The individual character of a person that finds its reflection in his/her physiognomy is a domain of interest of the portrait as a separate genre in art. The meanings that have been ascribed to the face have to a certain degree determined the ways it has been presented in European visual arts. The image of an ugly face has become one of the variants of presentation of this part of the body. Ugliness of the human face may have various forms. We know of presentations of deformed physiognomies, which resulted from experiencing strong emotions, as well as of images of evil figures to whom ugliness is ascribed as a feature resulting from the moral appraisal. One of the kinds of portrait compositions using deformed shapes of the face is caricature. It aims at ridiculing the presented person by deforming and magnifying its chosen features. Ugliness is in a way connected with humor. This connection can be seen, among others, in caricature that arouses amusement. Among the presentations that provoke laughter several varieties of humor may be distinguished. One of its kinds is irony. The main motif of the present paper is searching for this kind of humor, in which the element of criticism and of ridiculing another person can be seen. Two Quentin Metsys’s paintings were analyzed: „Ecce homo” from the Palazzo Ducale in Venice and „A Grotesque Old Woman” from the National Museum in London. Some traits of irony that are suggested in these works are an inspiration for further studies in this field.


  • Katedra Historii Sztuki Średniowiecznej Powszechnej Katolickiego Uniwersytetu Lubelskiego Jana Pawła II


  • Arnheim R.: Sztuka i percepcja wzrokowa, przeł. J. Mach, Gdańsk 2004. Bogdanowska - Jakubowska E.: Face. An interdyscyplinary perspective, Katowice 2010.
  • Cohen М. М.: Perspectives on the face, Nowy Jork 2006.
  • Courtine J., Haroche C.: Historia twarzy. Wyrażanie i ukrywanie emocji od XVI do początku XIX wieku, przeł. T. Swoboda, Gdańsk 2007.
  • Dante Alighieri: Biesiada, przeł. i oprać. M. Bartkowiak-Lerch, Kęty 2004. Dictionary of art, t. XXI, red. J. Turner, Nowy Jork 1996.
  • Eсo U.: Historia brzydoty, przekład zbiorowy, Poznań 2007.
  • Friedländer J. М.: Quentin Massys as a painter of genre pictures, „The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs” 89(1947), nr 530, s. 114-119.
  • Gartsman E.: Facial gestures: (mis) reading emotion in gothic art, „Journal of medieval religious cultures” 2010, nr 36, z. 1, s. 28-46.
  • Gombrich E. H.: Sztuka i złudzenie. O psychologii przedstawienia obrazowego, przeł. J. Zarański, Warszawa 1981.
  • Kalaga W.: Twarz, maska, fasada, „Kultura współczesna” 2006, nr 3 (49), s. 15-34.
  • Le Goff J., Truong N.: Historia ciała w średniowieczu, przeł. I. Kania, Warszawa 2006.
  • Mueсke D. С.: Ironia: podstawowe klasyfikacje, przeł. G. Cendrowska w: Ironia, red. M. Głowiński, Gdańsk 2002.
  • Panofsky E.: Suger, opat St-Denis, w: E. Panofsky, Studia z historii sztuki, Warszawa 1971, s. 66-94.
  • Pastuszka J.: Historia psychologii, Lublin 1971.
  • Rosenwein В. H.: Worrying about emotions in history, „The American Historical Review” 2002, nr 107, z. 3, s. 821-845.
  • Silver L.: Power and pelf: a new-found „Old man” by Massys, „Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art” 9(1977), nr 2, s. 63-92.
  • Słownik terminologiczny sztuk pięknych, red. K. Kubalska-Sulkiewicz, Warszawa 2006.
  • Tatarkiewicz W.: Historia estetyki, t. II: Estetyka średniowieczna, Warszawa 1989.

Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.