Apollo Magazine

Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts

The Met Fifth Avenue delves into the art-historical inspirations for Disney’s magical creations

concept art (detail; 1950), Mary Blair

Cinderella concept art (detail; 1950), Mary Blair. Walt Disney Animation Research Library

This display at the Met Fifth Avenue in New York (10 December–6 March 2022) delves into European art history to reveal the sources of Walt Disney’s magical creations. Sixty works of decorative art and design from the 18th century, including Boulle clocks and Sèvres porcelain, are displayed alongside some 150 works from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, among other institutions. Among the highlights are displays exploring how Disney and his studio found inspiration for Sleeping Beauty from medieval tapestries, for Cinderella from the architecture of the Gothic Revival, and for Beauty and the Beast from French rococo furniture. Find out more from the Met’s website.

Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here   

Clock with pedestal (c. 1690), case attributed to André Charles Boulle after a design by André Derain, clock by Isaac II Thuret or Jacques III Thuret. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Beauty and the Beast concept art (1991), Peter Hall. Walt Disney Animation Research Library

Miniature model of a French boudoir of the Louis XV Period (1740–60), designed in c. 1937 by Narcissa Niblack Thorne. Photo: Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY

Cinderella concept art (1950), Mary Blair. Walt Disney Animation Research Library

The Vultures (c. 1937), Walt Disney Studios. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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