Animation Artifacts &Commentary &Luzzati & Gianini &repeated posts 18 May 2009 07:36 am

Giulio Gianini 1927-2009

– I’ve been something of a fan of the films of Luzzati and Gianini. I’d met Emanuelle Luzzati at a function thrown at the Italian Embassy in New York, years ago. I bought a book by him, and the artist drew a beautiful pen and ink drawing in the frontispiece of the book.

In 1988, I met Giulio Gianini in Italy during a stay of a couple of pleasant days with an assistant of his at the festival in Treviso, Italy.

Mr. Gianini died this past Saturday, and I wanted to offer a bit of a memorial. Emanuelle Luzzati died January, 2007 and to memorialize that I posted some illustrations and information about the duo with a lot of frame grabs from a number of the Luzzati/Gianini films. It took a few posts, and I left off without wanting to overplay all of the art at my availability.
Luzzati & friend

The Thieving Magpie was the first of their films to receive an Oscar nomination, and it was the first of the frame-grab posts I showcased. I’d like to post it again in honor of Mr. Gianini. He was sick for several years and in particularly bad condition. His death wasn’t a surprise, but it is still an enormous loss.

1 2
(Click any image to enlarge.)

La Gazza Ladra (The Thieving Magpie) is a Rossini opera about a young maidservant who, accused of stealing a silver spoon, is sentenced to death for her crime.
At the eleventh hour, the real culprit is found to be a magpie.
A cartoon, if ever there was one. With great music!

The film tells a tale wherein a king and his hunters, on a bird hunt, are beaten
by a magpie who steals their gems and ultimately destroys their village.

4 5
Luzzati who spent many years designing operas and ballets,
brought his knowledge to animation as the pair adapted several operas often utilizing the overtures of the operas they were adapting.

6 7 The film was nominated in 1964 along with
Clay, and the Origin of the Species by Eliot Noyes
and the winner, Chuck Jones’ Dot and the Line.
The Sound of Music won the Best Picture Oscar, that year.

8 9 The use of cut-out animation wasn’t mainstream at the time.
This is years before Terry Gilliam made it somewhat fashionable. All of the
Luzzati-Gianini films were totally inventive and creative within the form they established.
Gianini’s animation was as dreamlike as Luzzati’s exciting designs. The films
look to be designed somewhere between Chagall, Kirchner and
stained-glass windows; the sensibilities are all Luzzati and Gianini.

Today we have Flash animation which does just about the same thing as cut-out animation, but the form used today is flat and vulgar and cartoony. It might be useful for practitioners of Flash to take a good look at what these two brilliant designer/animators did with a similar form under more complex and arduous methods. Ulltimately, it’s all related.

You can get a bit more information about Gianini and Luzzati from the website of the Luzzati Museum in Genova.

6 Responses to “Giulio Gianini 1927-2009”

  1. on 18 May 2009 at 12:39 pm 1.Ian Lumsden said …

    I too am a fan of both men. The rich tapestry of colours apparent in your tribute to them says so much about a style that is rich and somehow historical in its imagery – stained-glass certainly. Very Italian. Some weeks ago I wrote an article about Luzzati amd was unable to stop reproducing images from his work. Ravishing. The richness of colour and texture certainly gives a pointer to young animators of whatever persuasion.

  2. on 18 May 2009 at 5:27 pm 2.willy hartland said …

    Hi Michael,

    Sorry to hear about the passing of Mr. Gianini.
    I’ve only seen a clip of “The Thieving Magpie” on the John Halas masters of Animation VHS. Brilliant timing.
    I found this Picasso film of his from 1983 on Youtube:



  3. on 18 May 2009 at 5:37 pm 3.Michael said …

    The YouTube video is merely done in his “style” (meaning cut outs). It’s not a film by Luzzati or Gianini but their students.

  4. on 18 May 2009 at 6:10 pm 4.willy hartland said …

    Sorry about that Michael … i can’t read italian. The timing was a bit crude at times.


  5. on 19 May 2009 at 12:26 am 5.susie said …

    Thank you for posting this tribute. The work shown is beautiful and a wonderful legacy to all.

  6. on 19 May 2009 at 3:50 am 6.Michael said …

    Actually, Willy, it was a very interesting video to see. Apparently quite a few of the students of Luzzati and Gianini are on YouTube. That’s quite a positive statement about them.

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