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April 24, 2013
Jewish World Review
Classic artwork in motion
Randy A. Salas
(MCT) Recent buzz about an online exhibit featuring animation of Leonardo da Vinci's illustrations got me thinking: What other classic artwork has been set in motion and posted on the Web? Here's some of what I found on my virtual gallery tour.www.vam.ac.uk/leonardoEngland's Victoria and Albert Museum has set up a companion website for its blockbuster exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci's work. Click on Animated Illustrations on the left side of the page to see the most exciting feature of the online show, nine clips that take Da Vinci's static sketches and bring them to life. My favorite is "Anatomy of a Bird's Wing," showing an avian skeletal structure that morphs into a man's arm, which then grasps a fabricated wing while birds soar by, in one of Da Vinci's human-flight musings. Be aware, though, that the site's heavy traffic means the animations take a long time to load.www.sandiegoscreensavers.com/ecards/ani_misc.htmlSan Diego Screensavers offers two animated e-cards that fit today's theme. "Mona Lisa Dances to Bolero" takes Da Vinci's winsome lass and has her sashay across the screen to Ravel's timeless melody. "Screamer" does much the same with the famous lamenting figure from Edvard Munch's "Scream," with plenty of screaming on the audio side, of course. Pick one, add a personalized message and send it to a friend. The e-cards are free, but they are also available as screen savers for $9.95 each.www.mcq.org/audubonMost of Le Musée de la Civilisation's reworkings of John James Audubon's "The Birds of America" are more like multimedia slide shows than traditional animation. But the results are, like their subjects, beautiful. If you watch only one, make it the delightful "La Fluidité" ("Wavy"), which shows a moth flitting around a stately trumpeter swan.www.youtube.com/results?search_query=animated+daliSalvador Dali's surreal creations are perfect fodder for animating, and many enterprising folks have done just that and posted video clips of their efforts on YouTube. Fun computer-animated examples include a test scene for the upcoming film "Blood Is Sweeter Than Honey: The Surreal Life of Salvador Dali" that breathes life into the snoozing head from his "Sleep" and a student project that takes a brief 3-D journey through "Persistence of Memory."www.etereaestudios.com/docs_html/snakes_htm/snakes_index.htm"M.C. Escher's works, his studies on optical illusions, geometry, perspective, the idea of the infinite, have always sparked my imagination," Spanish designer Cristobál Vila says. He set out to create a 3-D illustration based on an intricate woodcut of interlocked rings by Escher. He ended up with a full-blown animated short called "Snakes," inspired by Escher's serpentine creation.www.startribune.com/a1895Joan Gratz's 1992 film "Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase" was so innovative that it won an Oscar for best animated short. Using clay animation, the film surveys the works of 35 artists as one re-created figure transforms into the next. The film is available on DVD, but copies have been posted by users on sites such as YouTube (the link above) and Google Video. It's absolutely fascinating, thoroughly encapsulating "art in motion" in one seven-minute clip.
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Randy A. Salas is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Do you have a favorite Web site or a question about how to find something on the Internet? Send a note by clicking here.
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