Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Harryhausen at the Tate

Photo by Nate Chard
The Tate Museum in London is currently hosting an exhibition of the art of Ray Harryhausen (1920-2013).

The show includes some of the original stop motion models used in movies like Jason and the Argonauts and 7th Voyage of Sinbad.

Harryhausen did it all. He designed the creatures, constructed them out of wire and latex, and animated them. The show includes some of his drawings and paintings, as well as the puppets or models.

Joseph Gandy, Jupiter Pluvius, 1819
The show also features some of the artwork that inspired Harryhausen, including John Martin and Joseph Gandy, above, from Harryhausen's collection.

He said, ‘Gandy is a relatively unknown painter but for sheer spectacle there are few others who come anywhere near him. This painting is one of my most prized possessions and has been a huge inspiration to me throughout my career, teaching me to think big and give my inspiration free rein.’

It is noteworthy whenever a mainstream art museum spotlights an artist from the worlds of visual effects, animation, illustration, or comics.

The way we'll see more exhibitions like this is if we attend them, share them on social media, thank the curators in the guest book, and send notes of appreciation to sponsors, lenders, and staff.
Tate website: The Art of Ray Harryhausen through November 19
Books: A Century of Stop-Motion Animation: From Melies to Aardman (Co-authored by Harryhausen, with an introduction by me)
The Art of Ray Harryhausen
Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life
Post on Muddy Colors: Two — Count 'Em — Two Ray Harryhausen Exhibits by Arnie Fenner


Mark Vander Vinne said...

Alberto Pasini is one of my favorite Orientalists. His painting of "Circassian Cavalry Awaiting their Commanding Officer at the Door of a Byzantine Monument; Memory of the Orient", 1880 at the Art Institute of Chicago is a wonder to look at. The detail, yet looseness. His understanding of composition is truly exquisite. The repetition of patterns and shapes to unify the piece still floors me.

You can see it here...or bette yet at the Art Institute of Chicago if you are in the area. It's in Gallery 223, The European Painting and Sculpture


P.S. A Market Scene is also an amazing piece of work. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pasini_Alberto_A_Market_Scene.jpg

James Gurney said...

Mark, I assume you meant this comment for the post on Orientalism, so I cut and pasted it there. (I love Pasini, too)

James G.

dragonladych said...

Oh! I'm in London on the 16th! I am so staying an extra day for this!

David Webb said...

Thanks for this, James. My brother's a big Harryhausen fan and this is only a quick train ride into town for him.
Still think the fighting skeletons scene, from Jason and the Argonauts, is one of the creepiest things on film.


Warren JB said...

Fantastic! If only I wasn't already planning a (necessarily) short trip to England.

In the meantime, I can definitely recommend the book 'The Art of Ray Harryhausen'. At least, from what I remember before I lent it and never saw it again... From that, I was taken by the influence of Gustave Doré, and his lighting and framing techniques.

Evelyn said...

Back in the 1980's (I can't find a trace of this event online . . . ), I had the privilege of attending an event at the American Film Institute in DC (then in the Kennedy Center) featuring Ray Harryhausen himself. Watching Jason fight the skeletons and Siva come alive is amazing on a large screen. After the presentation, the audience was allowed to get close to the famous models themselves -- not being familiar then with the art of illusion, I'd thought they'd have been larger!

Evelyn said...

Sorry, "Shiva"!

Ka Rolding said...

Love Harryhausen and his creatures! He might have essentially done it all, but I would also like to mention the more practical contributions of his parents to his extant body of work: his father--a mechanical engineer--who constructed the armature for the miniatures, and his mother, who sewed together the clothing for the fairy tale characters early on.