Cartoon is a satirical or humorous drawing on social-political or everyday life matters drawn with the purpose of revealing, ridiculing and criticizing any event or any person. Objective negative features of characters and also their typical peculiarities are shown more sharply in cartoon by means of caricature and grotesque. The word “caricature” derives from the Italian “caricare”, meaning to load or to surcharge. In 1756 the word was included in one of the dictionaries by Dr.Johnson. Cartoon may be the product of the highly developed mind, because laughing at oneself is the ability of only morally healthy society. Cartoon can be presented as a complicated coded system or as an Aesop language, and this factor generally depends on the historical condition under which it appeared or on the author of the cartoon. Cartoon may be sharp or mocking, severe or well-meant, exposing or humorous. It can criticize by the help of satire, and at the same time, it can make laugh by the help of humor. Negative features clearly shown and ridiculed by a cartoonist satisfy viewer’s inner need and give him or her specific contentment.
Cartoon is one of the most widely spread forms of satire in the fine arts. A cartoonist shows people or environment to the audience from some different perspective. Each cartoon work generally represents historical condition, society and ethno-culture under which it appeared. Cartooning is a way of thinking, and it represents social conditions of its time. Sometimes captions of cartoons play an important role, generally in cartoons drawn by graphical means. An idea that cartooning is an easy field of fine arts is wrong and groundless. Cartoon genre requires specific way of thinking, critical approach to the problem and conventional expressive means, and only professional artists with high intellectual ability can possess these features. A cartoonist, first of all, must have sharp eye, abi-lity of evaluation, sense of humor, and talent to reveal main points of the problem by the help of expressive means.
For centuries people had a desire of mocking at others. During all periods of history people had a need of showing their attitude to the events happening around using critical laugh, and this need arose from injustice in society and discontent among people.
3000 years before, on the walls of ancient Egypt temples, beside the huge frescoes showing Pharaohs’ victories in the battles, there were also anonymous paintings criticizing Ramses III (1269-1244 B.C.) and revealing his haughtiness. One of these cartoons which is still kept in Egypt Hall of British Museum, shows a skillful use of Aesop language being drawn by an anonymous artist of that period. Such paintings criticizing life and policy of different leaders proved that people liked and accepted cartoons, because cartoons had been created as a result of injustice and protest existing in society.
Heroes and even Gods of ancient period had been described very keenly and harshly on vase graphic drawings and epigrams that came to us as specimens of the decorative applied art of ancient Greece and Etruria. In these drawings, characteristic features and forms of figures were deliberately exaggerated, and mythical heroes such as Hercules, Eneas and even Zeus were described in an ugly way like in caricatures. Parody drawn on the legend “Paris Justice” and other satirical paintings contradicted the existing traditions of that time.
There were also many problems to be criticized during the reign of such emperors as Caligula, Nero and Caracalla who had surrounded themselves with different privileges in ancient Rome. People were irritated by the way of life of emperors and ruling circles full of luxury, dissipation, and excessive entertainments. Discontent and protests arisen from this situation led to widely spread of sarcastic drawings and satirical sheets. Such satirical drawings were accepted by people with pleasure and made them think about their problems more deeply.
In Europe, first cartoons appeared in folk arts, in drawings and satirical sheets of amateur artists in the Middle Ages. Conflicts in society, peasant rebellions, class and political struggles stimulated the development of cartooning as a genre. Cartoons that appeared during the peasant rebe-llions in Germany (1524-1526) and during the first bourgeois revolutions in Europe (in Holland, England and France in XVI-XVIII cc.) had been readily accepted by people, and it became clear that this genre had been closely related with folk arts. Inquisition, greedy and avid priests, dissipated aristocracy living in luxury, intrigues of newly formed bourgeois, injustice, hard exploitation of helpless people were revealed and criticized in these cartoons loved by people. Most of the cartoons drawn on these themes were anonymous. However, such popular and famous artists of that period as Leonard de Vinci, Michaelangelo, and later, Titsian, H.Holbeyn (junior), A.Durer, P.Breugel (senior) created very interesting satirical drawings using power of satire.
Cartoons and satirical sheets criticizing Vatican and Catholic Church were easily accepted even by ignorant part of people and spreading widely became much sharper. Contemporaries of that time wrote that there were satirical sheets in every house, even in poor ones. All of these could be accepted as a fact of people’s love of cartoon, its influence on people’s consciousness, and it also showed that satirical drawing was a strong ideological weapon.
At the beginning of the XVIII century, carto-oning was loved and accepted by absolute majority of people in Europe. Such a historical and important work as introducing cartoon into life of European peoples was connected with the name of William Hoggart (1697-1764), a po-pular English artist of that period. W.Hoggart described some absurd traditions of the society, injustice and brutality of life widely using irony and grotesque in his works and engravings. The artist’s works and new ideas had a great influence on European culture of the XVIII century; Hoggart had exceptional services in the activities of artists working in his time and later. An important role of Hoggart in the future development of cartoon genre is also undeniable.
A graduate of London Academy of Arts, one of the professional artists of his time, James Gilrey (1757-1815) referring to the satirical motives in W.Hoggart’s works, enlarged and developed them. At the end of the XVIII and at the beginning of the XIX centuries, as a result of J.Gilrey’s fertile and purposeful work, cartoon developed as an independent genre of fine arts. In his works, the artist wasn’t afraid of critici-zing the English king George III, his wife, the heir to the throne Prince of Wales (George IV), and also the aggressive policy of Napoleon. Those years, such artists as T.Roylandson, J.Crucshank, L.Cranax (junior) and others worked selflessly and fearlessly using the revealing and criticizing potential of cartooning without being afraid of persecution and threat.
In the XVIII-XIX centuries, specific features of cartoon genre began to be formed. In this period, one of the main features of European cartooning was to show quick reaction and objective attitude to social and political events happening in society. Features like adroitness, laconic brevity and objectivity peculiar to cartoon genre made artists of Europe and also the whole world be interested in this genre and be-nefit from the potentialities of cartooning. In that period of history, F.Goya, H.Daumier, and Rus-sian artists I.A.Ivanov, I.I.Terebenyov created many cartoons and etchings criticizing Napoleon and his aggressive policy. While watching Francisco Goya’s (1746-1828) numerous cartoon works on this theme that were drawn in daring and sharp manner, we can see a figure of fighting and genius artist who was not afraid of descri-bing events with all their bare shortcomings. In 1797-1798, the artist’s series of etchings under the name “Caprichos” (80 pages) was a new word in the history of cartooning
. Therefore, it is possible to say that cartooning fortified its position in the society as a genre closely connected with literature and publicism. In 1830, in France, an artist of revolutionary spirit and a literary man Charles Philipon founded the first satirical magazine named “La Caricature”.
C.Philipon, who had excellent managerial abilities, noticing the popularity of “La Caricature” among people and weakness of authorities, began to publish the daily newspaper “Le Charivari” (1830-1893). These important events enlarged the potentialities of cartooning, and this genre began to be used in such fields of graphics as xylography, etching and lithography. Mainly cartoons with captions were already met in many newspapers and magazines of that period. Keen cartoons that could shake the regime of the new monarch of France Louis Philip and caricatures that could disgrace the king were published in “La Caricature” magazine. The young artist Honore Daumier played an important role in that period. His series of revealing cartoons began to harass the regime. The artist was imprisoned for 6 months for his keen cartoon works; the magazine and its editor C.Philipon was imposed fine on 6000 francs. In spite of the pursuit and persecution, these two professional artists, H.Daumier and C.Philipon, kept on working together.
Honore Daumier’s cartoons were remarkable for their specific individual manner and for basing on realistic principles. The main reason of people’s love of his satirical drawings could be explained by the reality described in his cartoons and by people’s easy understanding them. All of these brought world fame to this artist and made him number one in the history of cartoon genre. Balzac told about Honore Daumier: “He is Michaelangelo of cartoon genre”.
Cartoon genre, widely spread in Europe in the XVIII-XIX cc, appeared in the works of some artists in Azerbaijan, country joining East to West in the XVI-XVII cc. Azerbaijan cartooning thoroughly differed from European cartooning in specific individual manner, in style of the artists, and in basing on book-miniature prin-ciples.
In the XVI-XVII centuries, in many miniatures of Kamal Tabrizi, the follower of one of the most prominent artists of Azerbaijan miniature school Shah-Gulu, we can see some elements of cartooning. Satirical attitude, exaggeration, exceeding forms, funny moments in individual characters were clearly seen in his works. Taking humorous approach to his characters, the artist widely used the potentialities of satirical graphics in his works in 1560-1580. The works under the names “Paunchy Man”, “Young Man with a Pitcher”, “Envoy of Spain”, “A Boy Reading a Book”, “Dervish” are good examples of K.Tabrizi’s activity.
Such works as “Young Man”, “Lovers”, “Feast in the Garden” and in 1560-1570, “The Dance of Peasants”, “Dervishes”, “Country Life” drawn by the artist of Azerbaijan miniature school Mohammadi, the son of Soltan Mohammad and done in a manner of “black pen”, the work “Shah and the Moaner” by Velijan Tabrizi, the follower of Tabriz miniature school, and also the work of the artist of Kazvin miniature school Mohammad Gasim under the name “The scene of Punishment” differed from idealized drawings in realistic and lively description of characters. Unfortunately, in Azerbaijan, this genre wasn’t supported and developed by people as in European countries. Satirical graphics remained as an episodic case in the works of Kamal Tabrizi, Mohammadi, Velijan Tabrizi and some other artists and didn’t have a chance to develop.
These absurd, humorous, criticizing and reve-aling satirical drawings met in Azerbaijan fine art in the Middle Ages could be considered as the first seeds of future cartoon art in Azer- baijan. Popular cartoonist, journalist and cartoon theorist Yurdagun Goker writes about the origin
of cartooning in Turkey: “The first Turkish cartoons were drawn by Fateh Sultan Mehmet (1432-1481) — the Shah in 1443-1444 (Library of Topkapi Palace Museum, “Rough Drawings of Fateh”). These cartoons can be considered as the first cartoons not only in Turkey, but also in the world. Western sources state that they don’t have any example of cartoon work drawn till the Renaissance period. Accor-ding to the Western sources, the drawings that can be accepted as the first cartoons are some sketches by Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) or some oil-paintings by Peter Bruegel (1525-30 – 1569). Even if we accept it, we can say that Turkish cartooning is for 100 years older than Western cartooning.
In all periods of history, cartoons were drawn generally on political subjects, so the development of cartoon genre depended on the freedom existing in the country it was drawn in. The same situation was in Turkey. Although cartoons were drawn in Turkey till 1850-1860s, they didn’t have chance to appear (“Rough Drawings of Fateh” and cartoons in it were hidden and protected till now, as they were drawn by Sultan). In different periods, depending on changeable freedom in Turkey, many magazines were published and many cartoonists appeared, such as Nishan Berber, Objanadassis, Ali Fuat Bey, Riza, Benetsanos. However, in the works of these cartoonists, traces of French cartoon genre were clearly seen. Turkish cartooning was occasionally under the influence of French or German cartooning at the beginning of 1900s”. In Russia, the first traces of cartooning appeared in the XVII-XVIII centuries, in a kind of folk arts “Luboks” (vulgar drawings), in drawings of amateur artists. Features typical to cartoon were clearly seen in these works drawn mainly by amateur cartoonists. In this form, by the help of cartoons, people showed their protest against the regime and criticized knyazes (dukes), aristocracy, officials and clergymen. Such widely spread cartoons as “Peter I”, Shemyakin Trial”, “How the Mice Buried the Cat”, being the specimens of local satire, could be accepted as the first traces of Russian cartooning.
The first steps taken in the development of cartooning as an independent genre in Russia were connected with the name of Russian painter Aleksey Gavrilovich Venecianov (1780-1847). On his initiative, the first satirical magazine “Cartoon” was founded in 1808, in Russia. However, this magazine couldn’t resist the persecutions of tsar officials and censorship and stopped to be published. Later on, such cartoonists as A.G.Venecianov, I.I.Terebenyov, I.A.Ivanov and others couldn’t remain indifferent to dramatic events happening in the country and in the world and created many cartoon works revealing the aggressive policy of Napoleon. Unfortunately, because of persecutions and pursuit by the regime and censorship, the artists couldn’t create any other cartoons except the caricatures on their contemporaries, on well-known public people till the second part of the XIX century. Only at the beginning of the Crimea War (1853-1856) there were some cartoons drawn on patriotic spirit and criticizing English policy. Blows on cartooning prevented the development of this genre in Russia. It proved once more that for the development of cartooning there must be a democratic society or people’s support.
At last, at the end of the XIX century, a slight freedom in Russian press began to be felt.
An artist, Nikolay Aleksandrovich Stepanov (1807-1877) together with V.S.Kurochkin, who was well-known in literary sphere, founded a satirical magazine “Iskra” in 1859. Cartoons published in this magazine described the officials’ tyranny, police’s brutal treatment, injustice in courts; the objectivity and sharp expressive means of these cartoons made “Iskra” magazine markedly differ from other satirical magazines (“Arlekin”, “Veselchak”, “Budilnik”, “Shut”) of that period. At the beginning of the XX century, in many countries of the world, cartooning was used as an ideological weapon in the class struggle. In different countries, cartoonists created excellent cartoons using this weapon in time and showing their civil attitude to the current events. Beginning from the folk arts and till the newspaper graphics in the Middle Ages, cartooning proved its importance in society as an indepen-dent genre. Being an integral part of descriptive art which was improved for centuries, cartoon genre developed enlarging its borders.
All of these facts prove the ancient history of cartooning. There are different hypothesis and opinions on the country of cartoon’s origin. A well-known artist, Secretary General of Fede-ration of Cartoonists Organisations (FECO) Mr. Peter Nieuwendijk writes on this problem: “It all started in England. So I was told. During many visits to Turkey, France, Italy, Egypt, Cuba, Serbia, Romania and Korea, people always told me the first cartoon ever, was made in their country. The director of the Egyptian Museum would prove it all with a slide-show, clearly demonstrating that cartoons were found in the old pyramids. The Turkish Ambassador claimed the first cartoon ever made in Istanbul in 1645. The French claimed Paris, for the Romanians it all started in Dracula County. Or did it all start in the Netherlands during the Spanish-Dutch War (1568-1648). That was one of the longest wars in history so there was plenty of time to make some jokes about the enemy. What is the truth? When did it really start? In which country? Actually we do not know”.
I think, it doesn’t matter in which country the first cartooning started; it has centuries-old history, and it played an important role in the art and culture of many peoples and countries. At the beginning of the XX century, the formation of independent cartoon genre was connected with the development of capitalism, and this genre was used as a weapon in political and class struggles. In the first part of the XX century, during the period of the World War I, in difficult political situations and later on, such German cartoonists as J.Gross, O.Dix, G.Chille, R.Shlikhter; French cartoonists as L.Laforjh, R.Dyubosk, R.Kabrol; American cartoonists as Nast, H.Davenport, R.Maynor, W.Gropper, F.Ellis, J.Berk; Russian cartoonists as D.Moor, V.Deni, K.Rotov, B.Yefimov; Belgian car- toonists as G.V.Raemdonk, J.Svets; Turkish car- toonists as Jemil Jem, Sedat Simavi, Mehmet Baha, Sedat Nuri; Azerbaijani cartoonists as A.Azimzadeh, G.Khaligov, I.Akhundov and others played important role in the development of cartooning in their countries.
During the years of the World War II, cartoonists created numerous of satirical antiwar and anti-fascist cartoons criticizing German fascism and its aggressive policy. These satirical drawings, placards and cartoons were of great importance for bringing up people in patriotic spirit, in love of native land and in hate of enemy. In this period, there was solidarity among cartoonists, a desire to fight against the same enemy.
During war years and later on, Kherluf Bidstrup from Denmark; Joan Effel, L.Mittelber from France; D.Moor, V.Deni, B.Y.Yefimov; Kukrinikses from Russia; M.Slin, V.Vandestin, B.Mur, J.Drats, L.Budt from Belgium; I.Beshkov, A.Dobrinov, R.Alexeyev from Bulgaria; Feng Zikay, Chyan Le-Pin from China; S.Sherifzadeh, H.Aliyev, M.Vlasov, I.Nejefgulu from Azerbaijan and other cartoonists created a lot of satirical drawings and cartoons on this topic.
Activities of these professional cartoonists, their works drawn in different periods of history played exceptional role in the development of cartooning. Being an integral part of any civilized society, cartooning entered the lives of different peoples and countries overstepping all borders. Easily adjusted to the local conditions, but with getting national originality and new artistic forms, cartooning took a worthy place in the culture and descriptive art of different peoples.
Being an indicator of democratic society, cartooning has its own place in our modern life. Cartooning that was formed as an independent genre in Europe, enlarged its borders, and now it speaks the language that everybody knows –“the international language”. Cartoons without captions can be called an international language, and they can be understood and appreciated by the people from different countries. Cartooning has already changed newspaper and magazine papers to large exhibition saloons. Recently, thousands of cartoonists participated in international cartoon contests held in different countries.
Today, in our complicated life, any careless cartooning can cause the anger of millions of people and create the abyss between peoples or religions. That’s why each cartoonist is required to be extremely tactful and politically competent, have considerable inner culture and ability to respect others’ opinions and beliefs. The role of International Cartoonists` Organisations and their purposeful work in this direction is of great importance. Marlene Pohle, the President General of Federation of Cartoonists Organizations (FECO), writes: “Federation of European Cartoonists Organisations created in 1985, in Belgium changed its original name and became the Federation of Cartoonists Organisations (FECO) in 2001. This was because many organizations world wide (in a great many countries such as Australia, Egypt, Argentina, Israel, Taiwan, Korea, Iran etc.) had joined FECO. It had spread far beyond Europe”. At present, Federation of Cartoonists Organisations (FECO) that unites 2000 car-toonists from 30 countries, carry out a great work in the direction of development of cartoon genre in the world. The President and the Board of this Federation closely cooperate with FECO groups (from different countries) in keeping the objectivity and justice in cartoon contests and in protecting cartoonists’ author rights.
Nowadays, contemporary cartooning must serve to the protection of peace and friendship being a bridge of relations and cooperation between peoples and cultures. We, cartoonists must contribute to this great work with our cartoon works.