The Masterpiece

2 December 2010

This is an extraordinary piece of animation, for several reasons. Firstly it is extremely well put together and storyboarded - but that is perhaps what you would expect from a professional artist.

It is the story of a man who paints in his spare time.  Convinced he has created a masterpiece he gives up his work and attempts to convince the art world of the merits of his piece.

It is a story wonderfully and movingly told and one which avoids cliché (which to be frank I was looking out for) and avoids the prerequisite happy ending that many animators feel that they must have in order to make their work marketable.  In fact the ending is quite bleak (sorry if that is a spoiler).

Yet what makes this animation remarkable for me (as well as its pathos) is the interpolation of so many different artistic masterpieces within the narrative.  I have to say I watched this more than once because I guess I was following the story too closely but then certain poses and positions rang bells of familiarity.

So how many can you see?  I won't give any more than one away here but I will say that although some are obvious (the board of the local gallery for example which you can see above) you will have to be very sharp eyed to catch them all.  I must say that for animated short films I am usually put off by anything longer than four minutes (and this is twice the length) but I was pulled in to the story of this struggling artist from the get go.  After all, so many artists have not been properly recognised in their life time - Vincent van Gogh springs immediately to mind here (indeed, the animation made me think of him more than once).

Although the story is not a happy one I have to admit to having had a great deal of fun trying to spot all her allusions to masterpieces that have gone before.  Really awesome work.

Thanks to animator Maeve Clancy for this.  I am afraid that her vimeo page does not give anything in the way of detail but I did manage to locate her website.  Although there is nothing biographical that I can tell you from there either it does have a great deal of her own art work, in animation but also in pop up and paper, comics and illustrations. I particularly like her web comic Flatmates and am somewhat in awe to her talent if the truth be known.

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