Paintings by Caravaggio, Vermeer, & Other Great Masters Come to Life in a New Animated Video

With his short video “Beau­ty,” the Ital­ian direc­tor Rino Ste­fano Tagli­afier­ro takes “a series of well select­ed images from the tra­di­tion of pic­to­r­i­al beau­ty” and uses the “fire of dig­i­tal inven­tion” to ani­mate sen­ti­ments lost on immo­bile can­vass­es. In the video above, you will see works by Car­avag­gio, Ver­meer, Rubens and oth­ers put into dig­i­tal motion. A com­plete list of the paint­ings includ­ed in the video can be found here. Plus there’s a tum­blr with ani­mat­ed GIFs of the paint­ings.  Find more infor­ma­tion, includ­ing a man­i­festo for the video (in Ital­ian), on Tagli­afier­ro’s web site. An Eng­lish trans­la­tion of the man­i­festo appears below the jump.

via Digg

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Devour­ing Time, blunt thou the lion’s paws,
And make the earth devour her own sweet brood;
Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger’s jaws,
And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood;
Over Beau­ty, there has always hung the cloud of des­tiny and all-devour­ing time.
Beau­ty has been invoked, re-fig­ured and described since antiq­ui­ty as a fleet­ing moment of hap­pi­ness and the inex­haustible full­ness of life, doomed from the start to a redemp­tive yet trag­ic end.
In this inter­pre­ta­tion by Rino Ste­fano Tagli­afier­ro, this beau­ty is brought back to the expres­sive force of ges­tures that he springs from the immo­bil­i­ty of can­vas, ani­mat­ing a sen­ti­ment lost to the fixed­ness mas­ter­pieces.
Its as though these images which the his­to­ry of art has con­signed to us as frozen move­ment can today come back to life thanks to the fire of dig­i­tal inven­tion.
A series of well select­ed images from the tra­di­tion of pic­to­r­i­al beau­ty are appro­pri­at­ed, (from the renais­sance to the sym­bol­ism of the late 1800s, through Man­ner­ism, Pas­toral­ism, Roman­ti­cism and Neo-clas­si­cism) with the inten­tion of retrac­ing the sen­ti­ment beneath the veil of appear­ance.
An inspi­ra­tion that returns to us the sense of one fall­en, and the exis­ten­tial brevi­ty that the author inter­prets as trag­ic dig­ni­ty, with an unen­chant­ed eye able to cap­ture the pro­found­est sense of the image.
Beau­ty in this inter­pre­ta­tion is the silent com­pan­ion of Life , inex­orably lead­ing from the smile of the baby, through erot­ic ecstasies to the gri­maces of pain that close a cycle des­tined to repeat ad infini­tum.
They are, from the incep­tion of a roman­tic sun­rise in which big black birds fly to the final sun­set beyond goth­ic ruins that com­plete the piece, a work of fleet­ing time.

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Comments (15)
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  • Rachel says:

    This would have been a lot bet­ter if the film­mak­er had­n’t focused so much on being sen­sa­tion­al­ist and macabre. Nice con­cept but creepy result.

  • Lou says:

    It might bet­ter be called “reflec­tions on life and death.” There’s not much beau­ti­ful about the final few min­utes.

    But the con­cept and process are bril­liant, cre­ative, orig­i­nal and haunt­ing — my per­son­al dis­taste for the bloody iconog­ra­phy of west­ern reli­gions notwith­stand­ing.

  • Wolfgang Ksoll says:

    Great video! Great paint­ing artists and a great com­po­si­tion! Well done.
    E mille gra­zie ;-)

  • ik says:

    Turn­ing the sound off real­ly helped me enjoy it more.

  • Canopus says:

    I think there­fore I exist.
    Com­mon thoughts there­fore they exist.

  • Lamp Shade says:

    Inter­est­ing con­cept that will no doubt bring a new audi­ence to some of the works on dis­play. I rev­elled in the sen­sa­tion­al­ism and macabre but I am a Car­avag­gio dis­ci­ple so that is no sur­prise. How­ev­er I would like to see how this media would work with Turn­er or Con­sta­ble… Yawn!

  • Arron says:

    Over­all a very cool idea and done well. The ani­mat­ed gif stuff I’m bet­ting will be wild­fire on tum­blr.

  • alexandre says:

    Why crit­i­ciz­ing so much? I loved it. Live mas­ter­pieces.. Be jeal­ous, fools. Those who say ´´it would be bet­ter if..´´could not have the eyes to do half of this pre­sen­ta­tion. Con­grat­u­la­tions.

  • juddarwin writer on redbubble says:

    video doesn’t/never work/works

    prob will be exciting/nice
    but already like look of art as is
    not all who stand and com­ment
    some­times in front of it
    also with ‘this is’ ‘atead of show­ing
    but inter­pre­ta­tions CAN be bet­ter, but
    video does­n’t work as said still with been wait­ing for sense thank you!

  • Roberto Rodriguez HEREJE. says:

    Cuan­do una obra plás­ti­ca (visu­al estáti­ca, que ni el op art aguataría) se ani­ma, se desan­i­ma lit­eral­mente hablan­do, pues el artista o pin­tor en este caso, siem­bra jus­ta­mente el total en un flash que inclu­so con­tiene el movimien­to. Esto es tris­te­mente apropi­a­do para con­sum­i­dores light.


  • Angela says:

    This is a mas­ter­piece. The most beau­ti­ful thing I’ve seen in a while.

  • Bahram Abedi says:

    Beau­ti­ful! There was a news sec­tion in Aljazeera Eng­lish about it. I am glad I could google it and find the link to Beau­ty! Thanks. I think its won­der­ful. I’m shar­ing in on my face­book.

  • brindisiparadiso says:

    Down­load BEAUTY sound­track:

  • Valentina says:

    Is Tagliafierro’s “Beau­ty” video inspired by an R.E.M. one?

    Tagliafierro’s idea of ani­mat­ing paint­ings in the “Beau­ty” video ( ) isn’t very orig­i­nal, since in 1991 James Her­bert real­ized the amaz­ing video of “Low” ( ) for R.E.M.. Both videos are very sim­i­lar, not only for same idea of mov­ing paint­ings, but also for their style. In fact, if in the “Low” video the main paint­ing is Eliz­a­beth Jane Gardner’s “La Con­fi­dence”, in the Tagliafierro’s one the same painter appears as the author of “Too Impru­dent” and por­trayed in the “Por­trait of Miss Eliz­a­beth Gard­ner” by her husband/teacher William Adolphe Bouguereau. Then Bouguereau him­self is the most shown artist (togeth­er with Car­avag­gio) in “Beau­ty”, giv­ing a styl­is­tic mark to the whole video. It’s curi­ous how Caravaggio’s pic­tures are rep­re­sent­ed in the “Los­ing My Reli­gion” video ( ), since both R.E.M. songs belong to the same album and video col­lec­tion (despite “Low” remains unknown for nev­er being pub­lished as a sin­gle).
    In my opin­ion, since in 1991 there weren’t actu­al tech­nolo­gies, the “Low” video appears even more amaz­ing, inno­v­a­tive and note­wor­thy.

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