before Christmas I managed to see the exhibition “Disney’s Art of Storytelling”
at Brandts Art Museum here in Odense, Denmark, where I live. “Disney’s Art of
Storytelling” is a collaboration between Brandts and the Walt Disney Animation
Research Library in Los Angeles. and the exhibition tells - for the first time
- the story behind the creation of some of the most well-known Disney
characters such as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and the Little Mermaid
of Walt Disney’s animated films have been inspired by myths, legends and
fables, not to mention the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. “The Little
Mermaid” and “Frozen” are inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales
“The Little Mermaid” and “The Snow Queen” and two of Disney’s animated short
films - “The Ugly Duckling” and “The Little Matchgirl” - as well as “The
Steadfast Tin Soldier” (Piano Concerto No. 2) from “Fantasia 2000” are inspired
by Andersen’s fairy tales as well. The Danish fairy tale writer was born in
Odense, so the collaboration between the Odense-based Brandts Museum and the
Walt Disney Animation Research Library is no co-incidence.
exhibition takes up the entire first floor of Brandts, but unfortunately
photographing is not allowed, so you have to make do with some photos from
Brandts’ website. Too bad, as it is an amazing exhibition that spans the history
of Walt Disney Animation Studios from the animated shorts of the 1930s to the
films of today and it includes some rarely seen artwork from the development
of the films and their leading characters.
is so much to explore as you can follow the development of the characters from “Fantasia”,
“Hercules”, “Robin Hood”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Snow White”, “The Little Mermaid”
and others as well as the ideas behind many of the shorts like “Brave Little
Tailor”, “John Henry”, “The Goddess of Spring”, “The Golden Touch”, “The
Grasshopper and the Ants”, “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “Three Little Pigs”.
can also see what inspired Disney to his films and how, and here a letter from Eleanor
Roosevelt caught my eye. In this letter to Walt Disney, Eleanor Roosevelt asks
him to make an animated film inspired by Heinrich Hoffmann’s classic, German
children’s book "Struwwelpeter" (or “Shockheaded Peter”) from 1845.
The book consists of stories with clear morals demonstrating the disastrous
consequences of misbehaviour in an exaggerated way and Disney obeyed the
President’s wife by making “Donald’s Better Self” in 1938.
only the exhibited works are amazing. The exhibition rooms themselves are all
painted to look magically like backgrounds in Disney films and on your way
through the exhibition, you can sit down and learn more with the help of iPads.
You can also see some of Disney’s “Silly Symphonies” as well as short documentaries
about their making in a screening area with two rows of cinema seats or you can
visit the exhibition cinema, “Spektaklets Bio” that also screens “Silly
Symphonies” along with a number of the most popular Disney animated full-length
films such as “Fantasia”, “Frozen”, “Robin Hood”, “Snow White”, “The Little
Mermaid” and “The Sword in the Stone”. Within the “Spektaklet” area, children and
the young at heart can even try creating simple animations.
Art of Storytelling” continues until March 12., 2017 and the entrance fee is
DKK 90 (expensive!) except for Thursday evenings, where you can visit the entire
museum free of charge. Yay!