Don Quixote and Sancho Panza - 1866 or 1868 by Honoré Daumier
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.