Monday, July 13, 2015

Original Production Drawing of the Nubian Centaurette from "The Pastoral Symphony" sequence of "Fantasia," 1940

 Original production animation drawing of Nubian The Centaurette in blue, green, and graphite pencil, production numbers lower left and numbered A17 lower right; and used during the production of the "The Pastoral Symphony" sequence of "Fantasia," 1940, Walt Disney Studios; Size - Nubian: 7 1/2 x 3 1/2", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; 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 Nubian Centaurette production 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 stamp.

Close up of the production number.

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 the Nubian Centaurette. A pair of Nubians (one carrying a jug of wine and the other carrying a fan) appear on either side of Bacchus (The God of Wine) as he enters the wine festival while riding on a small black Unicorn. Drawings of the Nubian Centaurettes are very rare. Their composition of half African female and half Zebra have resulted in their being seen as racial stereotypes; and Disney has censored their scenes for all "Fantasia" re-releases.