The Da Vinci of Caricaturists

Posted inThe Daily Heller
Thumbnail for The Da Vinci of Caricaturists
David Levine

David Levine (b. 1926) was the Leonardo Da Vinci of caricaturists (although Da Vinci was himself also a caricaturist). He died yesterday at the age of 83.

Levine left a slew of iconic “charged portraits,” but for me none was more acerbic and witty than the one above of Richard Nixon as the fictitious Lt. Commander Queeg, the paranoid captain of a ratty World War II mine-sweeper in the film The Caine Mutiny (played by Humphrey Bogart). Levine’s conflation of an equally paranoid president and the naval officer was just one of the astute metaphors during the Watergate era that typified his life’s work. As I think of Levine’s contribution to political art and social commentary, this image speaks much louder than those proverbial 1,000 words.