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Disney: The Art of Story Telling

Actualizado: 3 de feb de 2019

02 September 2018, La Caixa Forum, Madrid, Spain


In the ten years I have been living abroad, I have never made more of an effort to get to know Madrid. I love all the museums and galleries and the most recent exhibition I visited was completely unexpected. I came randomly came across an article on a website called ESMadrid. It featured the drawing above and it immediately caught my interest. Who doesn't love Maleficient?

Marc Davis, Maleficient from Sleeping Beauty, 1959

I love Disney, the illustrations and the stories based on old fairy tales and legends. The traditional methods of animation were fantastic and with all the advances in technology, you get films like Fantasia or Frozen. To an extent, these animations are a dying breed.


My favorite part? Too much to focus on, but here are a few:

  • The variety of artists, and with them, their unique styles. The exhibition was more focused on the Disney classics from the 1930's to 90's so this appeals more to an older audience.

  • Each story was separated by plaster walls covered in wallpaper of different colors that featured different stories.

  • The layout, there was freedom of movement. At the beginning it was confusing because there was no specific order or guide to the works. However, because there were so many people and the space so crowded, it was nice to choose what to see. Had there been an order, the best pieces would be cramped and it would be impossible to enjoy them.

  • How many Disney films have you seen? I bet even if you're a Disney fan you think you've seen all you can see, and don't know how many films you have actually didn't even know about!

  • How bad I wanted to rewatch all the classics after this! Snowhite (1937), The Sword in the Stone (1963), Robin Hood (1973). Yeah, remember him?

Disney has made literature more attractive over the years, and not just for children; the majority of the visitors were adults! So I told my father about, who introduced me to Disney after living in New York for five years. He didn't need much convincing either, and neither did my sister Laura (21) and my younger sister, Gemma (8). Trust me when I say that the adults enjoyed the exhibition more that my 8 year old sister.


Best part of the exhibition is the catalogue. It's €30, however the quality of the photos is fantastic, not to mention the uniqueness of each of the works. It features every single drawing and highlight in the exhibition along with a summary of how the stories turned from literature into films. Highly recommend it! This is just a preview of all the beautiful works you can see.


Did you know?

  • Ever noticed any similarities between characters from different films? Take Persephone, from "The Goddess of Spring" below for example. Ring a bell? She might be lesser known than the famous Snowhite but both ladies were created by the same artist, Hamilton Luske. Don't they look alike?

  • The handwritten notes on the sketches for Hercules, 1997, match the text used in the graphics throughout the film.

  • The character of Merlin became famous as an epic poem written by a French knight, Robert Boron. However, the character was actually first presented in Prophetiae Merlini (Prophecies of Merlin), written by Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1135. It was later incorporated a year later into his famous Historia Regum Brittaniae (History of the Kings of Britain). Merlin, so to speak, is one of the very first spin-offs in the history of literature.

  • The beautiful presentation story book at the beginning of the film, The Sword in the Stone, 1963, has the format of a Medieval manuscript from around 1470.



All photographs taken from the exhibition catalogue, written by Tracey Miller-Zarneke.


© Miller-Zarneke, T. 2017. Disney: El Arte de Contar Historias, Exhibition catalogue, 19 June - 4 November 2018. La Caixa-Forum, Madrid, Spain.








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