After 1850, the caricaturist Daumier, virtually unknown as a painter, repeatedly produced scenes from the parodic courtly romance of Don Quixote and his servant Sancho Panza. This mighty work by the Spaniard Cervantes (1547–1616) describes a series of timeless disasters. The emaciated itinerant knight Don Quixote, who seeks out noble deeds but only succeeds in fighting against windmills, is grotesquely heroic. Since he takes his dream world for reality, the real world seems to him to have been bewitched; he is unable to unite the ideal and the real. Sancho Panza, on the other hand, embodies prosaic reality. The telling power of Daumier’s paintings derives from his relaxed, expressive style of painting. Daumier has no time for the minutiae of narrative. In his hands, Cervantes’ characters are condensed and stylized by means of powerful gesture into “types” characterized with penetrating accuracy.


  • Title: Don Quixote and Sancho Panza
  • Creator: Honoré Daumier
  • Date Created: around 1866/1868
  • Physical Dimensions: w102.0 x h78.0 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • original title: Don Quichotte et Sancho Pansa
  • Technique and material: Oil on canvas
  • Inv.-No.: A I 976
  • ISIL-No.: DE-MUS-815114
  • External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k - Photo Agency / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
  • Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Artist biography: Honoré Daumier was a French painter, printmaker, sculptor and caricaturist. He became protégé to Alexandre Lenoir in 1822 and entered the Académie Suisse one year later. His caricatures were social as well as political statements. His portrayal of King 'Louis Phillippe I as Gargantua' (1831) led to him being sentenced to prison for six months in 1832. In addition to his paintings and drawings he created a number of sculptures in unbaked clay. As a painter he is considered as a pioneer of naturalism. His paintings are characterized by strong contrasts between light and dark and the use of rugged contour lines. His famous artworks include 'Don Quixote' (1868) and 'The Chess Players' (1863).
  • Artist Place of Death: Valmondois, France
  • Artist Place of Birth: Marseille, France
  • Artist Dates: 1808-02-26/1879-02-10

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