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Beauty: Art History in a Stunning Animated Video


Titian, Correggio, Caravaggio, Gericault, Rubens, Dore, Rembrandt, among others, compose one of the most wonderful pieces of animation of our times.

The celluloid has been used on different occasions to bring famous artists back to life. While some recreations can be deficient and leave much to be desired, others, in turn are masterpieces. When we use film to remember those creators that have changed history, we can focus on their lives or on their work; however there are few and fortunate pieces which combine the best of both worlds, for example Nightwatching (2007) by Peter Greenway, which is the sublime adaptation of the life and work of the Dutch creator, Rembrandt van Rijn. Examples like these could be found throughout history, but never before had a creator offered us a short like Beauty (2013) by Rino Stefano (Milan, 1980).

115 pieces of the painting comprise this 9 minute long digital animation. It features paintings that portray landscapes, portraits, nudes and mythological scenes, many of which were created by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, a neoclassical French painter that channeled and depicted, using oils, the most beautiful angels, nymphs and children. The animation also includes pieces by Titian, Correggio, Caravaggio, Gericault, Rubens, Dore, Rembrandt and Friedrich. In sum, the animation brings to life, for a few seconds, many of the most representative pieces in the history of Renaissance, Baroque, Flemish, Neoclassical and Romantic art.

The animated adventure begins with an extract from Shakespeare’s 19th Sonnet, which reflects on time and a relentless nature, an appropriate opening that makes us wonder on the beauty of impermanence, it delights the viewer from its very beginning and the awe inspiring moments last until it ends. The music was composed by Enrico Ascoli. The notability of the musical score complements the magical halo that encircles the first half of the video, accentuation the sinister aspects of the second half and emphasizes the actions of the characters.

Works like this, which combine the best elements of traditional art with cutting edge technology, allows us to reflect on how fruitful the dialogue between the art of the past and that of the present can be. This film reminds us that we can always take advantage of learning from history; we can reconfigure it and reinterpret it at the service of an inspired future.


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