The term cartoon is derived from the Italian word cartone which means a large sheet of paper. A cartoon is a full size and usually detailed preparation on paper for a painting (in fresco, on canvas or on panel) or a tapestry.
To the National Gallery, the man depicted in the masterpiece that hangs in its gallery of 15th-century treasures is a holy man, possibly a saint, reading a legal text. And the portrait is believed – at least by the gallery’s experts – to have been created in the workshop of the Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden.
But to one leading art historian, it is nothing of the sort.