Wednesday, July 8, 2015

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

Original production animation drawing of a Centaurette in red, green, and graphite pencil, production numbers lower left and numbered 51 1/2 lower right; and used during the production of the "The Pastoral Symphony" sequence of "Fantasia," 1940, Walt Disney Studios; Minor paper loss to left edge; Size - Melinda: 6 3/4 x 9", 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.

Close up of the Centaurette production drawing.

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.

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. In this wonderful original production drawing of a Centaurette, drawn with graphite as well as red and green pencils, she is standing full figure with her arms and hands out stretched in front of her. She has bows in her hair and strung flowers around her chest and waist.