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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Original Production Drawing of Chernabog from the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence of "Fantasia," 1940


Original production animation drawing of Chernabog in graphite, blue, orange, and red pencils; Production stamp lower left and numbered 205 lower right; From the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence of "Fantasia," 1940, Walt Disney Studios; Size - Chernabog: 11 1/2 x 15 1/2", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.


In 1940 Walt Disney took a huge risk with his third full length feature film "Fantasia." The film consisted of eight animated segments each set to the soundtrack of a different classical music piece, but with no dialog. The soundtrack was recorded using multiple audio channels and reproduced with, what Disney called Fantasound; a pioneering sound reproduction system that made "Fantasia" the first commercial film shown in stereophonic sound. The development of Fantasound led to what is now known as surround sound. This drawing is from the famed, "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence.


Close up of the original Chernabog production animation drawing.

From Disneyvillains.wikia:
"The idea for Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria's Devil was conceived by German artist Heinrich Kley who once sketched a pen and ink drawing of a gigantic demon forcing workers out of a factory by blocking the chimney. Albert Hurter, inspired by this drawing and others like it by Kley, drew various sketches of a huge, winged devil tossing handfuls of souls into a volcano. Hurter's sketches also included studies of Chernabog's hands as his flailing minions attempt to clamber onto his fingers for safety; this imagery is used in a scene in the final film. After Hurter's initial sketches, Kay Nielsen established the final appearance of Chernabog and his world in a series of detailled pastel illustrations, as well as a model sheet for the character. Chernabog was then created as a real model, to be used as reference by (animator Vladimir) Tytla during animation. For live-action reference, Wilfred Jackson, the director of Night on Bald Mountain, shot footage of actor Bela Lugosi (famous for his portrayal of Universal's Dracula), to be studied by Tytla. However, Tytla was not satisfied with Lugosi's performance, finding it not to be the way he felt the character would move. As a result, after Lugosi left, Tytla shot live-action footage of Jackson (a skinny man), directing his movements according to his intentions for the character. Jackson later recalled that his hands were also filmed in close-up as reference for Chernabog's hands as he manipulated the flames."


Close up of the production number for the Chernabog drawing.

Tytla would also draw in total darkness, except for the fluorescent light under his animator's light box which lit his face in a spooky and shadowy way. The great Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston have said, "No one but Tytla could have given Chernabog the odious, predominantly animal mentality which made him so fearsome." In his 1983 book "Walt Disney's Fantasia," author John Culhane wrote of Night on Bald Mountain: "The great strength of this segment is that its personification of evil in Vladimir Tytla's animation of Chernabog, the Black God or Satan, was and remains today the highest point yet achieved in the art of animation." Chernabog has always been included in the pantheon of great Disney villains. He is the best representation of pure evil; and most agree the he is also animator Vladimir Tytla's greatest triumph!

This is without question the finest drawing of Chernabog that I have offered for sale! The drawing is very large being over eleven inches tall and fifteen inches wide, and covers the entire sheet of animation paper. He is boldly drawn with both arms visible and he is peering down in front of him with both of his large wings spread behind him. Both of his eyes are open, his horns and even his fingernails are wonderfully drawn. He is accomplished in graphite, blue, orange, and red pencils, with the production stamp lower left and numbered 205 lower right.