Historical Cartoons is about two- dimensional satirical images from antiquity till the end of the 19th century. Satirical images – realistic or distorted- are to be found all over the world in non- western and western oriented cultures, the first mostly being much older.
In non-western cultures prevail three-dimensional forms such as theatrical masques, pottery, sculptures, carved and painted wood etc. Not persons are represented but comical and satirical types with a ritualistic or mythological meaning. Mostly with the function of communicating with ancestors or magical protection against evil spirits.
In the western oriented cultures developed out of those primary forms cartoons, comics and caricatures with distortion and manipulation of the features of a known person. In this site the accent lies on those western forms, because of the overwhelming richness and diversity of the non-western forms.
The first caricatures in Europe were made by famous artists as an artistic play without a political and social critical meaning and only known to friends and colleagues. In the 17th and 18th centuries prevailed social satirical publications by woodcut, etching, engravings and paintings. In the 19th century originated by means of lithography and publication in newspapers the greatest impact on the lettered public.
Cartoonists and caricaturists can be anonymous, amateurs or professionals. There are also instances in this site of famous painters (e.g. Titian, Rembrandt, David ) who made occasionally satirical images.
The satirical themes of cartoons and caricatures can be religious, political, social, and their publication can be out of protestation and propaganda, in educational, historical and journalistic fields.