Last month, we visited the exhibition The Art of Walt Disney Animation Studios: Movement by Nature at the Musée Art Ludique in Paris. In case you didn't know, the museum was created in 2013 and specializes in exhibitions about animated films. Some of their previous exhibitions include Pixar: 25 Years of Animation, The Art of Marvel Superheroes, Drawings of Studio Ghibli, Aardman: Art Taking Shape, and The Art of the Blue Sky Studios.
The new Art Ludique exhibition highlights the artistry and technique behind the films of the Walt Disney Animation Studios. Through character studies, model sheets and concept art, you discover how the Walt Disney drawings have evolved over the years, which artists changed the world of animation, how they studied the movement of animals and nature as inspiration for their drawings, and how the vertical multiplane camera was used to create the illusion of movement.
The Art Ludique exhibition follows the Disney movies chronologically and divides them according to the different artistic movements they belonged to.
The first part of the exhibition is dedicated to how the art of Walt Disney animation emerged. Here you see several cartoons from the 1920s, displaying emblematic characters such as Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Pluto.
Then comes the transition to feature-length animated films with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942).
The 1950s marked the beginning of a new artistic dynamic. Many artists evolved into a stylization of shapes that could also be found in the era's architecture, interior design, and children's book illustrations.
At the Disney Studio, this modern movement was first expressed in short films, followed by the feature films Alice in Wonderland (1951), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961).
In the 1980s and 1990s, the great artists behind the original masterpieces passed the torch to a new generation of concept artists and animators, who were themselves influenced since childhood by the Disney movies.
With the impressive modernity of their techniques and art, these new Disney movies - The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), and Tarzan (1999) - helped usher in a new golden age of animation around the world, with Japanese productions reaching the Western market and the increasing production of stop-motion animation and CGI animated films.
The Studio's early 21st century productions contributed to the emergence of a new era of computer-generated images. Their most recent films revisit some well-known stories with a modern style and viewpoint (Tangled, Frozen, Moana) as well as contemporary themes such as video games (Wreck-It Ralph) and super-heroes (Big Hero 6).
While many Walt Disney animated movies are covered at the exhibition, a large part is still missing. Yet it features more than 400 works of art. You need at least two hours to see everything and listen to the audio commentary.
Worldwide, this is the first exhibition dedicated to the Walt Disney Animation Studios. It's a rare occasion to re-discover the world of Disney animated films, from the great classics to the latest box-office successes.
The exhibition succeeds in giving a good overview of how the Walt Disney movies evolved over the decades, but even more so it makes you appreciate and respect all the work, study, and precision that goes into the making of these animated movies.
The exhibition The Art of Walt Disney Animation Studios – Movement by Nature at the Musée Art Ludique runs to March 5th, 2017.
Address: Musée Art Ludique, 34 Quai d'Austerlitz, 13th arrondissement, 75013 Paris
Are you a fan of Walt Disney? What are your favorite Walt Disney Movies?