Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Cartons of Cartoons




We consider cartoons to be a form of entertainment, something humorous but ephemeral. In times gone by, cartoons served a far more serious purpose.

We find the seminal word carta in Latin, where it meant paper. As it was assimilated into Italian and French, it came to mean strong, heavy paper, a type of pasteboard. Rather than being covered with frivolous, inconsequential drawings, such pasteboard was used by serious artists to plot preliminary drawings of what were to become international masterpieces. Think of Da Vinci’s notebooks.

If you’ve ever moved from one place to another without hiring a moving company, you’ve scurried around looking for a cartoon’s close relative: cardboard cartons to be filled with your earthly possessions.



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