Caricature / Gerald Scarfe
Now granted, Megara is not an official Disney Princess but I figure she is a prime example of caricature in a Disney film and where that overpowering style took little regard for the time period in which the story takes place. If animators attempted to use the art of caricature in Aladdin
the film Hercules
took it to the fullest extent.
This time the studio turned to another caricature artist link
, brought to prominence for his work designing the Pink Floyd
album cover and their film The Wall
. Having worked as an editorial artist for The Sunday Times
and The New Yorker
Gerald Scarfe was renowned for his often unflattering, sometimes even grotesque, depictions of notable political figures like Princess Diana
and Margaret Thatcher
Barbara Stanwyck | concept art by Gerald Scarfe
Scarfe was given so much artistic reign over the style of the film that he supposedly designed the basic look of each individual character, essentially laying the framework and then handing them over for the Disney artists to perfect and add physical personality. When the character of Megara was handed over to animator Ken Duncan
he aimed to make Megara more like a caricature of sexy screwball comedienne link
The film was only a moderate box-office success and the animation style considered by some to be severe and overpowering. This is a major reason Megara is featured in virtually no mainstream merchandise as her exaggerated body proportions drastically set her apart from every female Disney character yet created only to be rivaled by perhaps Cruella deVille
. Despite this, the Disney Studio took a risk and made a commendable effort in pushing the envelope and blur the boundaries between modern art and animation.
Art Nouveau / Alphonse Mucha
Regarding this article series, Giselle is of great significance despite the fact she is not an official princess and has relatively little animated screen time. Most people are aware of all the references this film makes to Disney Princesses past but this only seems to shadow the fact of how unique Giselle actually is by design.
Various forms of Art Nouveau
The design of which I speak is that of link
. It was link
who was the accidental father of the Nouveau. Having moved to Paris he accepted a last minute commission to design a theatre poster for a local play. His innovative style was an immediate success amongst the Parisians and soon he was in the highest of popular demand. During the movement (1890-1905) Art Nouveau permeated from painting into sculpture, architecture, furniture, jewelry, calligraphy and even works of glass by the famous link
Giselle herself seems to be derived directly out of Alphonse Mucha's paintings. Her dress is identical to that worn in a poster advertising Moet & Chandon White Star
, a brand of French Champagne painted in 1899. While obviously Giselle's facial features depended heavily on those of Amy Adams
, the actress herself can be compared to the type of woman Alphonse Mucha seemed so keen on painting. Being primarily restricted to the female form, his subjects were often women of literature, goddesses or the physical embodiments of art and virtues much in the same way Giselle embodies the essence of a Disney Princess.
I deeply regret that the style of Art Nouveau was more an afterthought in a primarily live-action film and not utilized in a full length animated feature. The style translated extremely well on not only the characters but also the world that surrounded them. From Giselle's cottage to the branches on the trees, Andalasia was a moving illustration of the fantasy world created by Alphonse Mucha. This was a true return to the original artistically romantic visions set forth by the great Walt Disney himself and the "Nine Old Men"
- an effort the likes of which not seen in a Disney Princess film in nearly 40 years.
Art Deco / Roger Broders
Being a return to the tradition of a 2D animated feature, The Princess and the Frog
seemed to fall short of its artistic potential. It resembles The Little Mermaid
more than anything in being primarily conventional animation but only for a brief musical number does it showcase a specific artform relavent to that time period.
Approximately from 1925 to the 1940's a new popular art movement had swept America known as link
. Much of what people recognize from that time period; the flapper fashion, the cars, the new skyscrapers were products of the Art Deco style. While it really was an accumulation of a number of existing artforms such as link
etc, it was the iconic style of the link
. This isn't the first time a Disney Princess film featured Art Deco as Pocahontas
could arguably be classified as Art Deco for bearing similarities to such works by link
During Tiana's musical number Almost There
we are transported into her visionary restaurant as depicted in a poster card. This is significant for Art Deco was very common in that time period, used in advertising of all sorts. One artist who found much success making such posters was French painter link
. Recognisable for his use of areas of flat color mixed with a grand perspective, Broders's often depicted elegant, elongated figures wearing all the latest fashions actively enjoying themselves at select tourist destinations.
By far the most appropriate for this particular film, I believe that the story and its environment could have been even more emmersed in the Art Deco style. However, as stated before Disney may actually made such an attempt in another film. Pocahontas
appears to have numerous hints of Art Deco with its use of brilliant colors and angular lines and solid geometric shapes. Of course it has little relevance to the time period or the subject matter which is why I'm reluctant to confidentally label it as such. Nonetheless, with its latest animated film release, the Disney Studio continues to honor the legacies of countless artists past. Standing upon their shoulders, Disney artist have created an arsenal of visually unique characters we come to recognize and love. One can only hope this tradition will continue for many years to come for our future generations to enjoy.