“Inspiring Walt Disney” or the universality of imaginative art to unite humanity…

The MET Fifth Avenue- Gallery 199/Thursday January 20th, 2022. On show until March 6th, 2022

 

Welcome back friends!

This week, friends, welcome to amazing, awesome, astonishing wonderment!

Welcome to a colorful, joyful, and dazzling art exhibit, like no other!

Somewhat small in size, but staggering in topic and content, and so fun to comment upon!

Yay!

Welcome to a strikingly beautiful and emotional experience, of unusual, delightful, and importantly, inspiring European craftsmanship, leading to truly groundbreaking, often gripping, always, entertaining and bonding, storytelling expressions, from the mighty, and universally acclaimed Walt Disney (1901-1966)!

Wow!

And yay!!!

Welcome to some of the most exhilirating Art, and architecture from Europe, spanning mostly from the Middle Ages, to the 18th century Rococo style, and including as well examples, from (mostly), French Decorative Arts.

Wow! And yay! yay! yay!

So let me start first, by reminding us, to hang on (tightly) to our hats, as we are about to be dazzled, swiveled and propelled, thanks to a giant, swirling, twirling wave, of joyful, stunning, European art expressions, towards a better understanding of, Disney’s own rich and at times, unusually active, imaginary, animated, and often, whirling world!

Wow! and yay yay! yay!

So welcome, welcome, welcome, to wonderfully lovely, cheeky, and decorative art piece examples, from yesteryear, beautifully curated by Wolf Buchard.

Yay!

So what are we about to see, specifically?

We’ll admire today, a few examples, of awesome works of mostly 18th-century French (and sometimes German or Belgian) decorative arts, architecture and design, including castles, tapestries, furniture, Boulle clocks, Sèvres and Meissen porcelain, featured alongside 150 production artworks and works on paper from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, Walt Disney Archives, Walt Disney Imagineering Collection, and The Walt Disney Family Museum.

Wow!

And keep in mind as well, that mostly, out of Disney’s huge artistic legacy, the gorgeous inspired art, featured in this MET Exhibit, will relate mostly, to the following four, Disney animated movies: 1937 “Snow White and the seven dwarves”, 1950 “Cinderella”, 1959 “Sleeping beauty”, and finally, 1991 “Beauty and the Beast”.

Wow! and yay!

And I have chosen to feature here, only a few of the exciting stunning decorative art pieces, which most struck me, and present them today, in chronological order, because, why not?

Let’s start now, from the oldest European art, to the most recent.

So first, let’s review Disney’s 1959 “Sleeping beauty” the most early medieval (9th century Carolingian influenced), of his fairytales, followed by Disney’s 1950 “Cinderella”, also medievally inspired, but more gothic (originating in the 12th century, out of the Romanesque art), which feels therefore, even more modern to me, and both very French in design.

Yay!

And then also, let’s admire stunning 18th century Rococo art (with examples from French paintings, and French and sometimes German decorative arts, in particular, porcelains) for Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the Beast”, and finally, let’s stop an instant to discuss as well, the Germanic, 19th century influenced, Disney 1937 picture, “Snow White and the seven dwarves”.

Wow! wow! wow!

And yay! yay! yay!

So let’s start discussing now, Disney’s inspiration for his 1959 “Sleeping Beauty” film.

So, from the Middle ages, what are we going to see?

Let’s take a look, at just a few examples, from many centuries ago, and let’s admire now, some of the most incredibly beautiful and impressive works, which uplifted, even more, Disney’s own, 1959, stunning, arresting, and courtly picture, the wonderful animated film, “Sleeping Beauty”.

Yay! yay! yay!

Let’s first, start with the arresting and remarkable, 9th century Lindau Gospels, from Austria, whose gorgeous upper cover, from 880, is late Carolingian, was bought in 1901, by J.P. Morgan for the Morgan Library in NYC, and was a wonderful inspiration, for Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” own introductory, film scene.

Wow!

And how lucky are we?

Here, let’s admire the beautiful and phenomenal upper cover:

Enjoy!


Just stunning!

So richly decorated, this Gospels “cover”, with wonderfully shimmering precious stones, light catching pearls, and equally arresting, three dimensional illustrations, to introduce, in an engaging way, the religious teachings found inside.

Wow!

Just awesome!

And now, let’s look at Disney’s joyful and imposing as well, “adaptation”, to introduce the “Sleeping beauty” story to his audience, a device the “book cover”, Disney often deployed as well, to introduce the idea of an ancient fairytale, about to be told, about to unfold:

Yay!

Enjoy!

Wow!

Almost as beautiful as the 9th century, Austrian, “Lindau Gospels” cover, and certainly as colorful, and conducive, to great awe, wonderful dreams, and great joyful anticipation, for Disney’s various adult and younger audiences!

Wow and yay! yay! yay!

Second, let’s look at gorgeous, 16th century, European, romantic tapestries, some of which, are still housed today, at the MET Cloisters.

Yay!

Lavishly woven in fine wool and silk, with silver and gilded threads, these tapestries often represent, courtly scenes, filled with romance, expressed in a variety of ways, beautiful nature, and over active animals.

Just like in Disney’s 1959 “Sleeping Beauty”.

Yay!

And here, in this 1500-1539, South Netherlandish tapestry, romance between these two lovebirds, is also, just like Disney’s 1959 “Sleeping Beauty”, expressed as well, through music!

How swell!

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

And also, from the MET Cloisters, there are plenty of other incredible tapestries, and in particular, there is a set of seven “wall hangings”, collectively known as “The Unicorn Tapestries” (1495-1505), which are certainly, amongst the most spectacular surviving artworks, of the late Middle Ages.

Wow! And yay!

And as well, these tapestries have impressed many, over the years, including Walt Disney, and his collaborators, who have all seen them, and were also astounded, by their beautiful depiction of courtly love, and by the wonderful animal presence, gathering together, which certainly as well, probably inspired also, a lot of the stunning artwork, and charming and poetic animal scenes, in Disney’s own 1959 “Sleeping beauty”.

Wow! And yay! yay! yay!

Wow!

And often tapestries can be enigmatic, in both meaning and origin, as you can tell. But more importantly, their incredibly rich content, allows anyone’s imagination, from any century, past or present, to start soaring on its own, and wander freely, and happily.

Yay!

So fun, joyful, and liberating.

Yay! yay! yay!

So what we do know concerning these “Unicorn Tapestries”?

They appear to have been designed in Paris, (France), produced in Brussels or Liège, (Belgium), and for centuries, were owned by the French La Rochefoucauld family, before being purchased by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who eventually, donated them, to The Met Cloisters, in 1937. 

Wow! wow! wow!

Again, how lucky are we (New Yorkers especially)?

And speaking of unicorns, I am pretty sure, that Walt Disney, who travelled quite a bit in Europe, and early on, in his adult life, also knew, of the legendary “The Lady and the Unicorn” tapisseries/tapestries, exhibited in Paris (France), and recently acquired, at the time, in 1882, by the Musée Cluny.

Yay!

And these tapestries were already considered then, and still, are viewed today, as, believe it or not, one of the great masterpieces of Western art.

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

So let’s talk about them briefly, just for a second.

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Very little is known about “The Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries. But let me share briefly, some, of what we do know:

These 16th century tapestries were made for the French Le Viste family.

There are six “Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries, each extraordinarily beautiful and intricate, woven in around 1500, and considered representative of the “Millefleurs” (“thousand flowers”) genre: a style characterized by an abundance of idyllic natural landscape, including flowers, orange trees, pines, hollies and oaks, inhabited as well, by beautiful and (mostly) peaceful animals (a unicorn, a lion, a monkey, dogs, rabbits, and a heron). And “Mille feuilles” was a specialty of weaving workshops in Flanders (a region in Belgium), particularly Bruges, and Brussels; so it is very likely, that the tapestries were weaved there. The specific weavers and artist who designed them, are still unknown.

Wow!

Among other things, each tapestry, represents one of the five senses (Taste, Touch, Smell, Sound, Sight), with the sixth tapestry, which either introduces, or concludes the series, known as “A Mon Seul Désir” (“To my one desire”) for the words woven into it.

Wow!

Let’s take a look at one of the “senses”:

Here in this “Smell” tapestry, the “Lady” is making a bridal crown, and everything about her, including what she is wearing, I can imagine, also inspired Disney, in his 1959 “Sleeping beauty” depiction of the royal court.

Wow!

Enjoy!

So beautiful!

Just stunning!

And now, let’s get back again to Walt Disney’s first trip to Europe, to France, in November 1918.

Walt Disney, was only 17, and stayed in France for a while, right after the end of the first world war, to help with the relief effort, as an ambulance driver, before returning to the United States, a year later.

Wow! and yay!

And like many, I am not surprised, that European culture and art, made a strong impression on him, at a turning point of his life, and at a key historical moment as well.

“That was his first trip overseas, and it was a transformational experience for him,” according to Burchard, curator of the exhibit. “That really changed his life, and the lens through which he perceived art.”

Wow!

And when Disney returned home, a few years later, at 22, in 1923, he founded his animation company, first called the Disney Brothers Studio, and introduced Mickey Mouse, to the world, through 1928’s “Steamboat Willie,” among other innovative new animations.

Wow! wow! wow!

Disney traveled abroad again, quite regularly to Europe, in the following decades, with tons of books for the artists of The Walt Disney Studios, to continue on growing his/their “inspiration” library. And when Disney returned to Europe in 1935, this time, Disney took an even wider European tour: around England, Scotland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, while “Snow White” was in production.

Wow!

But let’s get back now, to Disney’s 1959 medieval inspired, “Sleeping Beauty” picture.

Yay!

So stunning and charming!

And let’s admire below, some of the most gorgeous and ravishingly poetic, and incredible Disney drawings, to conjure up, the magic and enchantment that have overtaken, Disney’s nature around the castle, and Disney’s castle, where every soul from this castle, was/is sleeping for 100 years.

Wow!

And let me summarize briefly, for all of you, who have not read, or watched “Sleeping beauty” in a while, this 17th century, French inspired, somewhat “scary” fairytale, by Charles Perrault (1628-1703).

Wow!

It is a story about a princess, Aurora (for Perrault), cursed at her baptism/christening, by a wicked/malevolent fairy, and yet, the curse is reversed, by a loving and benevolent fairy, the 7th one, present as well, with 6 other loving fairies, to the baptism, and who is able to “modify” the curse.

Wow! And Phew!

In Perrault’s original version, there are 7 benevolent fairies at Aurora’s baptism/christening, and 6 of them, offer the following “gifts” to the young princess: beauty, wit, grace, dance, song, goodness, and “Carabosse” the wicked fairy called “Maleficent” (in later versions), curses the princess to prick her finger at 16, on a spinning wheel, and die. Thankfully, the seventh fairy, will somewhat, reverse this “curse”, and instead of dying, the princess and the entire kingdom, will fall asleep for 100 years.

Wow! And Phew!

And after which, (after 100 years), a loving prince, will awaken the princess.

Disney also decides, to make the prince, kiss the princess, to break the spell.

Wow!

And Disney’s movie, only retains 3 (instead of Perrault’s 7) loving fairies: Fauna, Flora and “Merriweather”/”Meriwether” (the cheery one); the latter, Merriweather, being the one, reversing the curse.

Welcome to the power of joy!

Wow! and yay!

And all 3 loving Disney fairies, convince the king and the queen, that the princess, should live with them, under their loving fairy protection, in a quaint cottage in the woods, until the princess’ 16th birthday, to counter as much as possible, the curse.

Wow!

And actually, the 3 loving fairies, will also eventually, and later, towards the end of the story, give the prince, (who by then, will have met the beautiful princess), magic weapons: the “Sword of Truth” and the “Shield of virtue”, to defeat the wicked fairy, by then, “transformed” into a vile dragon, and finally, after defeating the dragon, the prince will be able to reunite with his princess.

Wow! and phew!

Let’s now, take a look below, at this unusual and beautiful drawing, of a charming cottage, where the 3 loving fairies live with the princess.

Its composition is also reminiscent, of medieval tapestries compositions, in which, both foreground and background, are equally important.

Wow!

And isn’t it also, filled with wonder, magic, and mystery, making us feel, as if everyone, including the water, is under a protective spell?

Wow! And yay! yay! yay!

And now, let’s take a look, at two of my favorite “Sleeping Beauty” Disney illustrations, featured in this exhibit, for their poetry, charm, and serenity.

Enjoy!

I just love also, the “enchanted spell” we can feel emanating as well, from these quiet, yet colorful illustrations, found in Disney’s 1959 delightful “Sleeping beauty”.

Wow!

What a gorgeous natural scene, untouched by humankind in a while, with its huge tall and strong, sturdy trees, and a seemingly silent, sun drenched, glittering, and peaceful “entrance hall” of the castle, while everyone is sleeping.

Wow!

So beautiful.

Both magical and almost mystical, at least to me.

Wow!

So incredibly dreamy, sentimental and moving.

Yay!

And now, let’s listen to a beautiful song from the movie, before the princess “falls asleep”, a wonderful and engaging “dancing” scene, as well.

Yay!

Enjoy!

So charming and whimsical, and I am sure as well, that “Emerald city” from Fleming’s 1939 “the Wizard of Oz” picture, was an inspiration also, for the last “landscape” drawing we can admire, in this beautiful “sang” excerpt.

Wow! And yay! yay! yay!

And this illustration below, is just to show you, the “Sleeping beauty” pink castle, seen from the gardens.

So Disney, (in its colors especially), yet, so potentially believable as well!

Yay!

And let’s now, take a look, at gorgeous examples of European castle architecture, which have also inspired Disney, for his 1959 “Sleeping beauty” and 1950 “Cinderella” castle animation, and even probably, regarding German architecture, 1937 “Snow White and the seven dwarves”, which feels more German inspired, in style.

For “Sleeping beauty”, let’s admire in particular, the “Ussé” French Castle/Château, (one of the most beautiful from the Loire valley, and there are loads of them, in that region). And “Ussé” is the one (castle), which apparently, had the most impact on Disney, for Sleeping Beauty’s movie, castle design.

Wow!

Enjoy the map!

Yay!

So fun!

And after looking at the “Ussé” drawing at the bottom of the map, let’s now, admire an actual photograph, of “Ussé”, to see how awesome, yet still, dreamy looking, this château, actually is:

Wow! and Yay!

And now, for both 1959 “Sleeping beauty”, 1950 “Cinderella” and even 1937 “Snow white and the seven dwarves” Disney pictures, let’s also, take a look, at other European castles, and in particular, let’s go to Germany, and admire just one, let’s admire “Neuschwanstein”, a 19th-century castle in the Bavarian alps, famous for its Romanesque Revival style and Gothic details, including vertical limestone towers and turrets, topped with deep blue pointed roofs. Once home to a famously introverted Bavarian monarch, Ludwig II, who was King of Bavaria, from 1864 until his death in 1886, and known as “the fairytale king”.

Wow!

And yay!

Of course, the castle’s idyllic architecture, was designed more so, for aesthetics, rather than defense capabilities.

Wow!

Let’s now, move on to fun inspiration, for Disney’s 1950 “Cinderella”.

Yay! yay! yay!

And now, let’s start to understand Disney’s Cinderella, with a summary of this uplifting story, inspired also, by a French fairytale.

Yay!

It is a story about graciousness, being more important than beauty. Without it nothing is possible; with it, one can do (almost) anything.

Yay!

So for all of you, who have not read, or watched “Cinderella” in a while, this 17th century French inspired fairytale is also, (just like ‘Sleeping beauty”) by Charles Perrault (1628-1703). Cinderella is a story about a young girl, of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper, and family oriented, who, as her widowed father remarries, has to learn to live and forgive odious stepsisters and a stepmother, who treat her very badly, and have her do all the household chores, while they do nothing; and who is also blessed, with a magical and loving godmother fairy, who will be able to send Cinderella for a short while, in a magical attire, to a ball, given by a prince; which eventually will lead to marriage, as Cinderella will be the only one, capable of fitting into a “glass” slipper, and more importantly still, whose graceful, gracious, and forgiving nature, on top of her glorious beauty, has won the prince over.

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

And even though, Cinderella is the daughter of a “gentleman”, I like to imagine, that Disney imagined himself, that making the step family, admire, and want to be “aristocratic-like”, would lead him and his studio, to develop even more strikingly beautiful, decorative, and inspired artwork, for this movie.

Why not?

Now, let’s take a look at the architecture, which has certainly inspired “Cinderella”:

Clearly aristocratic and majestic.

Let’s take a look now, at another splendid and colossal, Loire valley castle, from France, and a UNESCO site, which has had, undoubtedly, a great influence on this picture.

Let’s admire, the awesome Château de Chambord:

Enjoy!

Just grand!

And the construction of the Château de Chambord, began during the 16th century, and is an archetype of the architectural style, known as “French Renaissance”, which flourished between the 15th and 17th centuries.

Wow!

And Chambord was specifically commissioned in 1519, by Francois Ier, or Francis I, the King of France then.

Wow!

Initially, the castle was meant to serve as the king’s hunting lodge, where he would stay for several weeks, during each visit, and therefore, was not designed, to serve as a permanent residence.

Wow!

Nevertheless, Francis was a great lover of the arts, and the Château de Chambord, despite being a temporary residence, was elevated to the status of an architectural marvel.

Wow! and Yay!

And Chambord’s best-known architectural feature, however, is its double helix staircase, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), a multi talented Italian High Renaissance artist: painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect.

Wow!

And I am sure, this majestic “French Renaissance” castle, “Chambord”, including its awesome staircase, had a huge influence, on many aspects of the “Cinderella” 1950 Disney picture, including sometimes, bettering for a while, some of the darker characters, with more light and goodness in their behavior.

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

And (the impact), as just mentioned is not only, on the representation of the rooms inside the castle, as imagined by Disney’s team: here admire Cinderella’ stepmother and stepsisters’ joy, when singing together, with great poise, in a huge “salon”, illuminated by a great candled chandelier, in front of gigantic, and stately French windows, dressed up to colorful, heavy and chic pink taffetas like draperies/curtains, all of them, apparently rehearsing with great focus and fun, lovely songs at the piano, in beautiful gowns.

Wow!

And yay! yay! yay!

Just grand! Fun! And clearly optimistic, in intent.

Let’s also admire this gorgeous interior, not only the overflowing, generous, rose bouquet, but also the furniture, in particular, the tall, curvy, gilded mirror illustration, incredibly influenced certainly, by beautiful “Renaissance” styled furniture, and by early, curvy, and joyful “Rococo” objects, (such as this mirror) from these castles.

Just dazzling illustrations by Mary Blair, for Disney’s 1950 “Cinderella”.

Wow!

Enjoy!

And how about this joyful and relatable reflection from Cinderella, playing with a rose, as many young girls, from various generations, like to do.

Is it not just charming too?

Just delightful and feminine, while yet, rendering as well, in the garment, the “cinder” quality of Cinderella’s plain dress, seemingly “eaten away” by embers, but which cannot take away from Cinderella’s great, endearing, and joyful character, and happy disposition.

Wow!

And yay!

And now, let’s focus again on Chambord’s unique curvy staircase, which I imagine also, could have inspired Disney’s own, “shapely” staircase scene, in Disney’s 1950 “Cinderella”, as Cinderella rushes out of the castle, just before midnight, and right before, her loving, fairy godmother’s “timed” spell, runs out.

Wow!

Another magical and beautiful illustration, of a key dramatic moment in Cinderella: admire the gleaming, glowing shimmer, of “the enchanted” glass slipper, as Cinderella drops one of them, in her hurry to get home quickly!

Oh boy! and wow!

Enjoy!

Is it not so delicate in its depiction?

Just beautiful!

And now, let’s admire technical Disney drawings, as Cinderella is twirling and transforming, under her godmother’s magic wand, her “cinder” dress, for a “princess” gown:

Wow!

Enjoy!

Just wonderful!

And here, below, are other beautiful interior design illustrations, for Disney’s 1950 Cinderella, which are equally 17th century “French Renaissance” and 18th century “Rococo” inspired.

So, firstly, what more to say about Rococo style?

This was a style found in paintings, interior design, decorative arts, architecture and sculpture, that originated in Paris, in the early 18th century, but was soon adopted throughout France, and later in other countries, principally Germany and Austria. It is characterized by lightness, elegance, and an exuberant use of “curving” natural forms in ornamentation. The word “Rococo” itself, is derived from the French word “rocaille”, which denoted the shell-covered rock work, that was used to decorate artificial grottoes.

Wow!

And keep in mind, that “Rococo” colors ranged mostly, from light pastels, to ivory white and gold.

Wow!

So joyful, exuberant, and colorful!

Enjoy!

Just wonderful!

And pink is so uplifting!

As is this illustration below, which to me, feels more “Rococo” than “Renaissance”, in its light pastel colored objects, and fun “curviness”, as well.

Yay!

So to sum up my impression of these inspiring objects to set up an “aspirational” mood for Disney’s 1950 “Cinderella”: are they not just stunning, lively, and whimsical, all of these shapely 17-18th century, Renaissance and Rococo objects?

Yay!

And so incredibly realistic looking, whether the mirror, the vases, or the lovely porcelain bowl.

Wow! And yay!

And let’s now, listen to a short and beautiful love song duet, from Disney’s 1950 Cinderella, as sound will enhance of course even better the “drama”:

Yay!

Enjoy!

And now, let’s move on, and take a look at Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the beast”:

Yay!

Let’s start with a summary of the “Beauty and the Beast” story, inspired as well, by a French fairytale.

Wow!

It is another story about graciousness and depth, allowing to see through appearances.

Wow!

And yay!

And let me summarize for all of you, who have not read, or watched “Beauty and the Beast” in a while, this 18th century French inspired fairytale, called in French “La Belle et la Bête”, it is from Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, and was published in 1740.

Wow!

First, let me briefly (I promise), tell you about the plot:

It is also a story, about a young girl, Belle, of unparalleled goodness, and family oriented, who also happens to be well read, who, “rescues” her merchant father, caught in a terrible storm, and who has plucked a rose, as a gift for her, in a strange palace’s gardens, and thus, angered a “Beast”, as he trespassed, and “stole” a rose from the property.

Oh boy!

Belle, by agreeing to live with the Beast, for a while, will be able to thus, free her father.

Wow!

Of course, spending time with the Beast, will make the Beast and Belle, reconsider their initial views of each other, and will end up, reversing the curse, bestowed upon the Beast, once Belle, acknowledges her love for the Beast: the Beast will then, “magically” transform back, into a dashing prince, and they will live, of course, happily ever after.

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

And being set in the 18th century, The Disney studio, chose also to feature beautiful “Rococo” design which abounded in paintings, furniture and objects, for this 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” picture, to mirror the era of the story, and dazzle its audience.

Wow!

And let’s take a look at Rococo expressions, in painting first:

Rococo paintings in France, include melancholic, yet poetic, and romantic, courtship paintings by Antoine Watteau, the “fête galante” genre founder (1684-1721), such as this beautiful example, in a stunning garden, which may have been an inspiration as well, for Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” ravishing, garden scenes.

Yay!

Enjoy!

Just beautiful!

In addition, Rococo paintings in France, also included later on, fun, playful, sometimes reserved, and yet sensual courtship scenes, sometimes even nudes, mythological allegories, and nature themed, and here, below, is an example, a few years later, of a bashful young couple, painted by François Boucher (1703-1770). And this coy courtship, seen below, may have been an inspiration, at least to me, for 1991 Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”, when the heroes, actually start falling for each other.

Yay!

Wow!

So poetic!

And finally, 18th century Rococo paintings, ended with Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s (1732-1806) style, characterized by easygoing, lighthearted treatments of courtship themes as well, along a rich and delicate brushwork, and relatively light and joyful colors such as pink, representing also, the innocence of youth.

Yay!

And here, below, is Fragonard’s illustrious “Swing” painting, overflowing with joyful freedom, the swing’s back and forth movement, symbolizing for some, indecisiveness of the heart, while the wild foliage, was to hint at the uncontrollable nature of the human spirit.

Wow!

And this “Swing” painting, which was initially, to be featured in Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” film/picture, yet ended only, making a cameo appearance, in Disney’s 2013 “Frozen” picture.

Wow!

Enjoy!

So charming!

And now, for the ballroom of Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the beast”, and its various large indoor/interiors scenes in “salons”/ living rooms, these might have been influenced by Louis the XIVth majestic “Versailles”, the most illustrious royal “château” in France, built in the 17th and 18th centuries (built from the 1630s to the 1780).

And specifically, the ball room for Disney’s movie was probably influenced, by Versailles’ gorgeous and stately “Galerie des glaces” (1678–1684), called also, the “Hall of mirrors”.

Wow!

And a UNESCO site as well, of course, this incredible Château de Versailles.

Wow!

So beautiful.

Enjoy!

And of course, the beautiful entrance and “apartment”/ bedrooms/ interiors of Disney 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” also included lovely Rococo objects, from this 18th century era, from which the original French story originated to amaze once again, Disney’s audiences.

Yay! and wow! wow! wow!

And now, here are three 18th century, striking Rococo porcelain vase examples, from circa 1762, from the illustrious French Sèvres Manufacture (one of the principal European porcelain factories, a continuation of the Vincennes porcelain founded in 1740, and which moved to Sèvres in 1756).

Wow!

And these lovely vases, have been included in the exhibit, for their fun and whimsical “curves”, and clearly would be seen, not only in Disney’s 1950 “Cinderella” as you saw earlier, but also, in the 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” Disney picture.

Wow!

And what charming and striking apple green color, for these joyful “Rococo” vases.

Wow!

And these unusual curvy vases represent, believe it or not, two towers, and amusingly, include each, two small golden cannons, to impress potential enemies.

Wow!

Just incredibly fun, beautiful, and a bit silly, but was certainly trendy!

Colors were a big deal for this Rococo style, and I must say, the lavender hue for the vase below, is also incredibly arresting and dramatic, feminine and joyful (despite the cannons).

Wow!

Enjoy!

And to compare French “Sèvres” porcelain, to other porcelain manufactures in Europe, let’s take a look at the first one, a German manufacture, called Meissen, which was incredibly intricate and refined. The production of Meissen porcelain in the royal factory, started in 1710, and attracted artists and artisans to establish, arguably, the most illustrious porcelain manufacturer.

Wow!

Meissen remained the dominant European porcelain factory, and the leader of stylistic innovation, until it was somewhat overtaken, by new styles, introduced by the French Sèvres factory, in the 1760s, but yet, has remained a leading factory.

Wow!

Here are a few incredible examples of Meissen’ small, almost miniature like porcelains, which were incredibly prized at the time, for their style and vivid character:

So charming!

As is this other lively, joyful, musical, Meissen porcelain “performing arts scene”:

Just delightful and so entertaining!

Enjoy!

Wow !

And how about these beautiful French wall sconces, or “Bras de cheminée”, made of soft porcelain and gilt bronze, by Duplessis (1695-1774), one of the most ingenious artist of his time?

Doesn’t the illusion of movement, and organic forms of these sconces, bring them to life, with loads of vitality, in a similar way, Disney own “object” characters, often embody?

Wow!

And what beautiful turquoise/greenish color for these wall sconces which used to belong to Madame de Pompadour,(1721-1764) a court favorite, and the official chief mistress of French King, Louis XV, from 1745 to 1751, as well as a prominent patron of Sèvres.

Wow!

And how about the splendor, fantasy and level of craftsmanship, of these 1690 French royal “Boulle” clocks?

Wow!

And how about this gorgeous French 1745-60 candlestick with two branches?

Yay!

Or the whimsy of these 1715-20 decorative (German) Meissen, hard paste, porcelain teapots?

Wow!

See how all these objects, had influence on some of Disneys’ most expressive 1991 “Beauty and the beast” animated decorative “household objects” drawings:

Wow!

Just incredibly fun!

And let’s now, listen to one of the great (short) songs from the 1991 “Beauty and the beast” movie, about Belle’s dreams for herself:

Enjoy!

And now, let’s finally, move on, to Disney’s 1937 “Snow White and the seven dwarves”.

Yay!

Let’s start first, with a brief summary of the “Snow White” story, inspired this time, by a 19th century German fairytale.

Wow!

It is another story about courage, graciousness, and wit, which allow together, to conquer evil.

Wow!

So, because some of you have not read, or watched “Snow White” in a while, this 19th century, German inspired fairytale, from the Grimm brothers, originally titled “Sneewittchenand”, and published in 1812, let me briefly (I promise), remind you of the plot:

At the very beginning of the story, we meet a young and lovely queen, sitting and sewing at an open window, during a winter snowfall, when she pricks her finger with her needle, causing three drops of red blood to drip, onto the freshly fallen, white snow, of a black windowsill.

Oh boy!

She says to herself, “How I wish that I had a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony; later, the beautiful queen will give birth to an equally beautiful baby daughter, whom she will name Snow White, but the queen will also, die in childbirth.

Oh no!

A year later, Snow White’s father, the king, marries again. His new wife is also very beautiful, but she is a vain and wicked, and practices witchcraft. She possesses a magic mirror, which she asks every morning, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest/most beautiful one of all?” The mirror always tells the queen, that she is the fairest.

Oh boy!

The queen is always pleased with that response, because the magic mirror never lies.

And as Snow White grows up, her beauty, (as do her singing skills), surpasses the beauty of her stepmother. And when the queen asks her mirror about the most beautiful (girl) of the kingdom, it tells her that Snow White is the fairest.

Oh boy!

Let’s listen to a beautiful tune, sang by Snow White, from another era, of course, but so charming as well, and which even make, the birds blush a little.

Aww!

Yay!

Enjoy!

This gives the queen, a great shock.

The queen becomes envious, and from that moment on, her heart turns against Snow White, whom the queen grows to hate increasingly, with time.

Gasp!

Eventually, the angry queen, orders a huntsman to take Snow White into the forest, to be killed.

Oh no!

And as proof that Snow White is dead, the queen demands of the huntsman, that he returns with Snow White’s heart, which the queen will then consume, in order to become immortal.

Oh boy!

The huntsman takes Snow White into the forest, but after raising his dagger, he finds himself unable to kill her.

Yay!

After wandering through the forest for hours, Snow White discovers a tiny cottage, belonging to a group of seven hard working dwarves (joyfully named by Disney, in 1937: Dopey, Grumpy, Doc, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy and Sleepy).

So fun!

Snow White explains to them, (as the dwarves come back from a day’s work), about her stepmother’s attempt to kill her, and the dwarfs take pity on her, and let her stay with them, in exchange for a job, as a housemaid.

Yay!

Ten years later, Snow White grows into an absolutely lovely, fair and beautiful young woman. Meanwhile, the queen, is furious, when she learns that Snow White is still alive, and decides to kill the girl herself, disguised as an old and (somewhat) scary and chilling character, and offers Snow White, a poisoned apple. Snow White is hesitant to accept it, so the disguised queen, cuts the apple in half, eating the (harmless) half, and giving the poisoned half, to Snow White.

Oh no!

Snow White eagerly takes a bite, and quickly falls into a coma, appearing to be dead, causing the queen to think, that she has finally triumphed.

Oh boy!

The dwarves are unable to revive Snow White, and, assuming that the queen has finally killed her, they place her, in a glass casket.

Oh boy!

The prince then, appears, kisses the casket, in Disney’s version, and Snow White, is revived, and will eventually accept the prince’s marriage proposal.

Wow! And yay! yay! yay!

And from the exhibit, there are just a few drawings about “Snow White and the seven dwarves”; and all, are beautiful, fun, and incredibly expressive.

Wow!

And I must say, I particularly enjoy, this specific “interiors” drawing, of the evil queen’s “peacock” throne, which speaks of the queen issues, with vanity, and need to shimmer, shake, and be admired, while focusing solely, in life, on her own beauty.

Oh boy!

So silly and fun, rich with meaning, and yet also, what a stunning throne!

Wow!

Enjoy!

And finally, this exhibit also included, a few images of other ancient Disney movies, and one image, particularly caught my attention, as it referred to, a hugely impactful 1940 Disney movie, in terms of educating children, myself included, on beautiful music pieces, from yesteryear, while watching a fun invented storyline, most of the time.

Wow! and yay!

And I wished there had more visuals, and more music, to showcase this great picture, because, of course, a movie is not only a visual experience, all “talkies movies” soared even more, once sound was included, and movies’ drama qualities, are not only found in a great storyline, great acting/performances, and exceptional sets, they are of course, even more enhanced, by an incredible soundtrack.

Yay!

Of course, I am referring to Disney’s 1940 “Fantasia”, which I think every child, (and adult) should see, at least once in their lifetime, because all the music featured in it, is so vivid, as are, most of the incredible images, and all of which, combined beautifully, thus, is making us realize, that Disney, understood better than anyone, or at least, better than most, the power of strong emotions.

Wow!

And yay!

So here, is the amazing, and only drawing, featured at this MET exhibit, from Disney’s 1940 “Fantasia”, which illustrates Schubert’s “Ave Maria”, the last piece of music, heard in this equally wonderful Disney movie.

Wow!

Enjoy the visual concept!

Yay!

So stunning and serene.

And I would have loved to see, of course, even more illustrations, of the strong emotions featured from 1940 “Fantasia”, but even, seeing just, that one drawing, was already a wonderful treat!

Still, let’s take a look, for fun, at a few great examples, of other strong “emotions” on display, from Disney’s 1940 “Fantasia”:

“Pride”, “Need for Independence”, and “Fear” for example, are well expressed of course in Fantasia’s “The Sorcerer’s apprentice” piece by Paul Dukas, and is a musical piece, that is easy to love, as it is so dramatic and cinematic, and based on a great Goethe poem, about respecting masters’ understanding of magic, and not playing with magic you cannot control.

Oh boy!

And when this great Dukas musical piece, in addition, is illustrated, with a great Disney character, Mickey mouse, as a young, charming hero, (Mickey mouse is always a nice guy, and honest, sometimes proud, but always a good guy), and here, we can observe, that Mickey is not yet, a fully rounded magician, and that he is still only, a young novice, and still an imperfect, and yet adventurous apprentice, who still needs to learn much, and to listen better, to masterful advice and strong teachings, from seasoned, magician “masters”, to be fully independent, but for children (and adults), Mickey’s imperfection and mistakes, are “what” makes this story, that much more wonderful!

Yay!

So let’s take a look, and a listen, to the first 3 minutes of the Dukas score: and really pay attention, to the gorgeous music, it is so incredible, expressive and awesome, I never tire of it!

Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/VErKCq1IGIU

Just captivating!

Yet, two other pieces, also, really stand out for me (even if I love all of the music, in this great 1940 “Fantasia” picture).

“Terror” followed by “Comfort”, is even better expressed in 1940’s Fantasia’s final segment, with first, “terrifying” yet awesome music by Mussorgsky: his “Night on the Mountain” piece, which is set, next to the concluding, warm, reassuring, and simply hypnotic music: Schubert’s illustrious and peaceful “Ave Maria”.

Wow! And yay!

Enjoy the beautiful visuals, reminiscent of Maurice Denis (1870-1943) French paintings, to me, which accompany the gorgeous Schubert melody.

Yay!

Wow!

Just stunning!

And lastly, because dance is always so rewarding, and because this 1876 ballet “Dance of the hours”, by acclaimed Italian composer, Amilcare Ponchielli (1834-1886), initially presented in the Act III finale, of his most successful opera, “La Gioconda”, depicts the eternal struggle between good and evil, I say, let’s take a quick glance, at the beginning of this epic, fantastic, and humorous ballet.

Yay!

Enjoy!

So silly and fun, and always beautiful!

Yay!

What a journey in great, stunning “animated” Disney film, and its incredible European “art inspiration”, this exhibit has taken us on!

And of course, like many, I would have loved to see as well, because it so fun, other examples of “art inspiration” from the huge Disney movie production: as a film producer, for all you/us movie fans out there, do/let’s keep in mind, that Walt Disney holds the record, for most Academy awards earned by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations.

Wow!

How about that?

But it would have made this MET exhibit, a tad too long.

So before concluding this long post, let me pay homage, once more, and not only, to all the “inspiring European art” presented in this wonderful exhibit, but also to Walt Disney, the man, whose apparent, laudable, and incredible, hard working habits, and dazzling creative genius, made /makes him in my opinion, one of the greatest and most successful American minds ever; a brilliant, open-minded, multitalented entrepreneur: an illustrator, animator, writer, voice actor, film producer, amusement park trail-blazer, and last, but not least, the most illustrious pioneer and visionary, of the American animation industry.

Wow! wow! wow!

And even today, decades after Walt’s death, the Disney “empire” still represents one of the biggest media company, or multinational leisure industry giant, constantly evolving and innovating, to address the entertainment industry’s growth and changes, all reflective of course, of an ever transforming society.

Wow! wow! wow!

As you can tell, like many, I greatly admire, the astounding, powerful, and legendary, Walt Disney, an incredibly driven man, early on, one can tell, and for the rest of his incredibly busy and rich creative life; who had a knack, not only, for finding universally compelling content, gripping characters, from around the world, and even, for his “fairytale” stories, for portraying princesses that have evolved with their times, but also, Disney seemed to have a knack for finding incredibly talented collaborators and staff, solid finances for his visionary works (whether in film, animation, or “parks”), and whose love of technological advances, and whose determination, to constantly “grow” a huge international “visual” library, for his graphic designers to draw inspiration from, along with being a great admirer, and an “advertiser” of distinguished past and present, engineering inventions of all kinds, from around the world, bettering humankind’s future, from past and present centuries, made him, totally unique, fearless, and successful!

Wow!

And what a terrific, optimistic, imaginative legacy, Disney leaves us too, including as well, love (and respect) of/for animals, and a compelling pursuit of “goodness” values for his heroes, even when they are imperfect, in a complex, and sometimes dark world, trying to constantly, not just, upgrade it, but simply, better it.

Wow!

What a great disposition, Disney certainly had, which in turn, influenced millions.

Wow!

And yay! yay! yay!

And I was hoping to see finally, in this exhibit, sequel images, to another great Disney 2015 movie, “Tomorrowland”, about bettering tomorrow, with new characters and adventures, but we shall have to be patient. For now, it seems, that this sequel is shelved. But who knows what the future will bring?

And personally, I think Disney should re-release this fun, idealistic 2015 movie, which reminds me of some terrific Jules Verne, adventures and extraordinary “voyages”, (I am sure it is intentional, and deliberate), as today’s world, needs more optimism, additional great engineering, and a great dose of heart, from main movie characters, than the dreary, doom-like stories, collected recently, from some of the Marvel world.

Just saying.

Here is one of Disney’s 2015 engaging “Tomorrowland” trailers:

Enjoy!

So breath taking!

So, in conclusion about Disney, the man: all of these incredible aforementioned facts, right there, say something, about the impact, Disney’s huge body of work, and visionary mind, had on the world, and not just in America, and not just in the “entertainment” business, but as a way to inspire hope, in his audiences’ minds and hearts, around the world, to collaborate together, with all sorts of tools, inventions, and ideas, and importantly, always trying to celebrate, peaceful and respectful dispositions, from all involved, to make the world a better place.

Wow! and yay!

So, in final conclusion, to sum up my feelings, about this beautiful and extraordinary, “Inspiring Walt Disney” MET exhibit, admired two weeks ago, at the MET 5th Ave, in great company: what an extraordinary, depiction (even if I would have added mostly, more music, for an even more pleasing experience), of some of the most striking and truly awe-inspiring decorative art, and architecture examples, from Europe, spanning mostly, from the Middle Ages, to the 18th century Rococo style, which shaped, inspired, exalted, and even enlivened sometimes, as well, the imaginary world of some of Walt Disney’s most distinguished works, admired by generations of fans, for almost a century!

Wow! and yay! yay! yay!

Wow!

Just magnificent!

Until next time friends!

Soft…

Fluttering…

Sunny…

Joyful…

Happy…

Loving…

Eternal butterflies 😊