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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Original Production Drawing of Sunflower the Centaurette from "The Pastoral Symphony" segment of "Fantasia," 1940


Original production animation drawing of Sunflower The Centaurette in red and graphite pencil, production numbers lower left and numbered 11 lower right; and used during the production of the "The Pastoral Symphony" sequence of "Fantasia," 1940, Walt Disney Studios; Size - Sunflower: 6 x 5 1/2", Sheet 10 x 12"; Unframed.


"The Pastoral Symphony" segment from Walt Disney's full length feature film "Fantasia," 1940 uses the 6th symphony in F, Op.68 by Ludwig van Beethoven as it's soundtrack. The symphony that Beethoven named "The Pastoral," is said to be one of the few pieces of music he ever wrote that tells a definite story. Beethoven was a great nature lover, and with this symphony he paints a musical picture of a day in the countryside. However, Walt Disney has taken Beethoven's musical score and set it as a backdrop to a fantastical mythological environment.

Disney's "The Pastoral Symphony" segment of "Fantasia" utilized expert color styling in order to depict a mythical ancient Greek world of centaurs, pegasi, the Gods of Mount Olympus, fauns, cupids, and other legendary creatures of classical mythology. The segment, directed by Hamilton Luske, Jim Handley, and Ford Beebe; tells the story of mythological creatures gathering for a festival to honor Bacchus, the God of wine.


Close up of the Sunflower Centaurette drawing.

In the prelude to the Bacchus festival, centaurs and centaurettes begin to congregate. The centaurettes spend time bathing and grooming and are always serenaded and tended to by musical instrument carrying cupids. Soon a herd of centaurs arrive onto the scene. After a while the centaurs and centaurettes begin to pair off, and each pair moves away from the others to share a moment alone. They delight in a stolen kiss, dip their hooves into the slow running stream, lay on the grass, or play on a tree swing. Eventually they, along with the other creatures, walk towards a nearby temple.


Close up of the production numbers stamp.

Fred Moore, one of Walt Disney's most brilliant animators, supervised the animation of this scene. This is a extremely rare original production drawing of Sunflower. Sunflower was animated as part of the centaur/centaurette sequence of "The Pastoral Symphony" segment. The hair styles of Sunflower changed with each of her separate appearances throughout the segment. She is first seen shining the hooves of one the Centaurettes and then scrubbing it with a cattail (in this her first appearance she has four braids with four ribbons in her hair). Next, she is seen putting flowers on another Centaurette's tail, which whacks her in the face and the flowers fall off; and she starts putting the flowers back on, after the other Centaurettes look through a tree at the Centaurs (this is her second appearance and she has two braids with two ribbons as well as a large sunflower on her head). She is next seen following another Centaurette while holding a flower bridle that the Centaurette is wearing (her third and final appearance she has two braids with two small sunflowers on them).


Close up of the individual production number.

Although Sunflower appeared in the original release of "Fantasia" and in several re-releases, all scenes with her have been removed from the film for all releases of the film since 1968; due to her being a racial stereotype. The facial features, hair styling, she appears to be half donkey rather than horse, and her subservient role to the other Centaurettes all contribute to this conclusion. This is a very rare drawing of Sunflower as she places flowers into the tail of another Centaurette. Both eyes are open, she is wearing a sunflower in her hair, and she is full figure.