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Screening StatuesSculpture and Cinema$
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Steven Jacobs, Susan Felleman, Vito Adriaensens, and Lisa Colpaert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474410892

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474410892.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 05 July 2022

Carving Cameras on Thorvaldsen and Rodin: Mid-Twentieth-Century Documentaries on Sculpture

Carving Cameras on Thorvaldsen and Rodin: Mid-Twentieth-Century Documentaries on Sculpture

Chapter:
(p.65) Chapter 3 Carving Cameras on Thorvaldsen and Rodin: Mid-Twentieth-Century Documentaries on Sculpture
Source:
Screening Statues
Author(s):

Steven Jacobs

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474410892.003.0004

The earliest examples of “art films,” which date from the first two decades of the twentieth century, had monuments and public sculptures as their subject. While often being actualities showing inaugurations of public statues, many of these films focus on the social event of the ceremony rather than the sculptures themselves, but some films did give attention to the plastic qualities of the sculptures in natural light.3 While a cinematic reproduction of a painting seemed useless or redundant, the medium of film was considered perfect for visualizing threedimensional artworks, which necessitate a moving approach to grasp their different angles and spatial dimension. Likewise, German art film pioneer Hans Cürlis, who founded the Institut für Kulturforschung in 1919 in order to develop and propagate film as a mediator for art, considered paintings highly “unfilmic.”4 Throughout the 1920s, Cürlis made several films that consist of static shots of sculptures rotating on their axis, grouped under titles such as “Heads,” “Negro Sculpture,” “Old-German Madonnas,” “German Saints,” “Kleinplastik,” “Indian Crafts,” or “East-Asian Crafts.” Other landmark art documentaries produced before the Second World War also focused on sculpture.

Keywords:   art films, Dreyer and Thorvaldsen, Alekan and Rodin, Cinematic Rodin, Optical Dilution, Rotation, Light

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