Thomas Nast

Artist's Biography

"How Many Times Shall Caesar Bleed in Sport?"

Wood engraving, 1874.
Image size 10 1/2 x 9 1/8" (26.6 x 23.2 cm).
Good condition.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 91448
Price: $50.00
Publisher : Published by Harper's Weekly. November 21, 1874.
The artist, Thomas Nast, pulls on a familiar scene from the Shakespearean play "Julius Caesar," to poke fun at James Bennett Jr., editor of the New York Herald. Illustrated as one of the conspirators who killed Caesar, he is shown a fool. He and his allies had failed in their task, and had instead taken their anger out on a lifeless dummy. That dummy is shown in the foreground with the head of an ass - further proof of Bennett's ignorance. Beside the false corpse is an ink bottle to imitate blood. It's belt reads 'Caesar' and the stand 'Third-Term.' At the time President Ulysses S. Grant was contemplating running for a third term (something that wouldn't be outlawed until 1951) and many Americans were outraged. Bennett was just one of those who was outspoken on the matter. He refereed to Grant's idea as a Caesarism, or a dictatorship that would destroy the American democracy. Thomas Nast, on the other hand, was a long standing supporter of Grant and found these claims to be ridiculous.

In the cartoon Bennett's holds a stake-like quill with the words, 'Caesarism dead. N.Y. Herald.' His expression is that of surprise, having only just realized he'd been hoodwinked by a puppet. Beside him is another man bearing the quill of 'N.Y. Tribune. The end of Grantism.' Others hold the, 'N.Y. World' and 'N.Y. Sun.' All refer to the different newspapers in New York. The conspirators are marching out of the chamber, into the 'Printing House Square' to write about their success, unaware of just how terribly they had failed.
18th-19th Century Subjects , Caricatures and Satirical , Political