Last spring a digitally animated video mashup of 500 years of women’s portraits was a huge, 5-million-views YouTube hit. Here’s an even more impressive video mashup: a meticulously handcrafted, non-CG animation of modern masterpieces. In her short film Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, Joan C. Gratz has managed to map out a century’s worth of art in seven minutes. She uses clay painting, a stop-motion animation technique that she pioneered, to morph fluidly among the works of 35 iconic, modern artists from van Gogh to Picasso to Warhol.
The film, which won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Animated Short, confounds through the ease with which one recognizable piece of art seamlessly dissolves into the next. The implausible is made to look inevitable.
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