The magic and splendor of Walt Disney Animation Studios, from the opulence of Beauty and the Beast to the stylized forests of Sleeping Beauty, now have their very own exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The new exhibit, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts, is sure to capture the imagination of Disney fans young and old through the display of 18th century tapestries, furniture, Boulle clocks, Sèvres porcelain and other decorative art from Europe set in the context of 150 production artworks and works on paper from the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, Walt Disney Archives, Walt Disney Imagineering Collection and The Walt Disney Family Museum.
The idea is to showcase the works of art and architecture from this time and place alongside their inspiration on Disney's animation—starting from the earliest films like Snow White to contemporary ones like Tangled, as well as on Walt Disneyland.
Disney fans who enter the exhibition, which officially opens Friday, December 10, will be wowed by the storybook-inspired architecture of the space but also the presence of some actual artifacts from the movies, including the ornate storybook for Sleeping Beauty and the actual story sketches from Cinderella (1950). Next to these items are the things that inspired them, from a 1500s tapestry from the Met Cloisters that directly influenced an artist on Sleeping Beauty (1959) to actual Rococo furniture and decorative items that inspired the characters in Beauty and the Beast (1991).
The Met has also placed film footage to showcase Disney's specific technological and artistic developments and references to European visual culture such as nods to Gothic Revival architecture in Cinderella, medieval influences on Sleeping Beauty and Rococo-inspired objects brought to life in Beauty and the Beast.
One part of the exhibit features Rococo-style chandeliers danging from the ceiling to mimic the incredible chandelier in the 3D ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast.
It's a rare opportunity to see the art of the beloved films upclose for yourself and see the exact items and artworks that inspired it and is the perfect way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the animated theatrical release of Beauty and the Beast.
"Both Disney animated films and Rococo decorative works of art are infused with elements of playful storytelling, delight, and wonder," said Max Hollein, the Marina Kellen French Director of The Met. "Eighteenth-century craftspeople and 20th-century animators alike sought to ignite feelings of excitement, awe, and marvel in their respective audiences. Through exquisite objects and Disney artifacts, this exhibition will provide an unprecedented look at the impact of French art on Disney Studios productions from the 1930s to almost the present day."
Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts opens Friday, December 10, and will be open to the public at the Met Museum through March 6, 2022.