E.T.A. Hoffmann is a fine artist (II)

Drawings and caricatures

Letters from Hoffmann often show drawings in the margin – strange figures or little self-portraits where the writing moves into  the outlines of a figure.

„degenerated fantasies, cruel pictures of fermenting brains, jumped children“

Often satiric stories meet with caricaturistic drawings.                                                                                                                                      

From a letter from 1.5.1820:

„a lovely little woman […] from 3 feet to 6 inches […]. Take from the material which Prometheus used to build a human […] shape  it to a pretty thick ball, put this ball on a small beer barrel and Mad. B. is before your very eyes. – It’s better if I draw this lovely thing sideways.“

The caricatures are mostly created in passing and reveal an irresistible tendency towards the satirical and comedic. In Bamberg the artist finds enough motifs: a stiff Corpus Christi procession or also a weak military group, the „Bamberger Bürgerwehr“ (a group of citizens which defends the other citizens).

Other graphic works are intended for sale, such as Napoleon caricatures.