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Cartoon - Arcy Art Original Oil Paintings Art Dictionary

In art a cartoon is a drawing of the compisition of the final work. It is the same size and has the same amount of detail as as the proposed final work will have and the cartoon is usually done on tough paper. The purpose of the cartoon is to get an idea of the final work and then transfer it to the surface of of the painting or other large work.

Cartoons were typically used in the production of frescoes, to accurately link the component parts of the composition when painted onto plaster over a series of days. Such cartoons often have pinpricks where the outline of the design has been picked out in the plaster. Cartoons by painters such as Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci are highly prized in their own right.

A cartoon is also a drawing with a humorous or satirical intention. This usage dates from 1843 when Punch magazine applied the term to satirical drawings in its pages, particularly sketches by John Leech. The first of these parodied the preparatory cartoons for grand historical frescoes in the then-new Palace of Westminster. The original title for these drawings was Mr Punch's pencillings and the new title "cartoon" was intended to be ironic, a reference to the self-aggrandising posturing of Westminster politicians.


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