Pier Leone Ghezzi and the Italian TraditionBefore English caricature there was Pier Leone Ghezzi (1674-1755) an Italian painter and draftsman who popularized caricature as an art form with innumerable portraits of dilettanti, Roman artists, and people on the Grand Tour. Ghezzi's style was gently mocking and comical, using simple pen and brush to exaggerate a few select features of his sitters. In this way, he captured an individual's essential character. For a century before Ghezzi Italians had practiced caricature-the word derives from the Italian verb caricare, which means to burden, overload, or exaggerate-yet he was key to its development. He transformed the informal sketches and visual puns produced in artists' workshops in the seventeenth century into a specialized artistic genre, one that satirized specific individuals rather than societal types. His influence on English caricature cannot be overstated. Extremely prolific, Ghezzi produced thousands of caricature drawings, many of which found their way to England via tourists and collectors. Prints were also produced after his works, further disseminating his manner.