Genre & Material
Where can I find this in Berlin?
Honoré Daumier’s paintings are less well known, as his name is rather more closely associated with his caricatures, which are considered timeless and universal due to their pointed, satirical character representations.
Thus, it is not surprising to find a strongly exaggerated couple from the history of literature in this painting by Daumier: Don Quixote and his loyal companion Sancho Pansa from the novel by Miguel de Cervantes (published 1605 and 1615). In his novel, the author wanted to parody the romance novels popular at the time, and show how too frequent and uncritical reading can befuddle the mind.
The tragi-comic knight Don Quixote, who in Cervantes‘ story constructs a dream world around himself, which he perceives as real, rides downhill on his shaky steed Rosinantes through a hilly, bare landscape. He is followed by his loyal servant Sancho Pansa, riding on a donkey, who sees through the distorted perception of his master, but continues to stand by his side nevertheless. Not least because he has promised him the governorship of an island. Daumier overdraws the characters as strongly as Cervantes does in his novel using words: the exaggeration of the frailty of Rosinantes and its gangly master, in contrast to the rounded good-naturedness of Sancho Pansa and his donkey. Both servant and donkey glance with mild concern towards steed and knight, but retain an appropriate distance and thus show respect vis-à-vis their status, even if this is merely imagined.