Posts Tagged ‘Michelangelo’

Haven’t I Seen You Before?

June 30, 2011

Would you believe that there will be yet another Three Musketeers film? It’s true. This version stars Orlando Bloom and Milla Jovovich and was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. The movie is scheduled for release on October 11, 2011. An image of the movie poster is floating around cyberspace and chatter on it is mixed. There are comments from those who like it, saying that it recalls a time when movie posters were drawn. Comments from those who don’t like it range from “Blah” and “Lame” to “Too busy for this poster. My eyes are all over the place!!!” As for me, I like the compositional style, I just don’t like the look of those in the poster. They have a going through the motions/ “I’m just here for the check” look. Below is the poster.

Moving right along, a recent story in the Times of India was about two movie posters. In particular, how a Bollywood movie poster for Murder 2 was very similar to Lars won Trier’s Antichrist. Both posters featured arms entangled in twisted branches and if there weren’t an Internet either no one would call attention to it or the attention would come much later. Anyway, below are the two posters in question.

What’s going on here? Has Hollywood’s current recycling kick spread to posters? Actually no. The reuse/repurposing of compositional and artistic styles has been going on since before the Renaissance. Both Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci influenced Raphael. Henri Matisse and pre-Roman Iberian sculpture influenced Picasso. A can of soup influenced Andy Warhol. I would go on but you get the idea.

So, it’s not a case of movie posters artists getting lazy, they are taking part of a long tradition of artists seeing something that they like and incorporating it. What separates art from a mere copy  is when the artist uses a technique in such a way that it becomes a part of his or her signature style. Of course, with the above-mentioned Three Musketeers poster, sometimes taking elements from the past doesn’t always work. That’s why talent is so important. No matter what the tools he or she uses, whether photography, computer generated images or acrylic paint, the true talent of an artist shines through. Think of the movie posters for Back to the Future and Mystic River (seen below and created by Drew Struzen and Bill Gold, respectively). One is drawn and one is photographed, yet they are great posters because two excellent artists created them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Therefore, if the artist is good—a movie poster is a thing of beauty. If the artist is bad, the movie poster is lambasted throughout the Internet.

Keep this in mind the next time you look at a vaguely familiar movie poster.

Sources:
http://www.flix66.com/2011/06/09/logan-lerman-and-orlando-bloom-look-awful-in-new-poster-for-the-three-musketeers/

http://www.movieweb.com/news/the-three-musketeers-poster

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-06-09/news-interviews/29637659_1_poster-mohit-suri-trier

http://www.artchive.com/artchive/R/raphael.html

http://www.artchive.com/artchive/P/picasso.html

http://www.drewstruzan.com/illustrated/portfolio/?fa=medium&gid=686&mp&gallerystart=1&pagestart=1&type=mp&gs=1

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/secrets-hollywood-s-greatest-movie-188670

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Death of the Movie Poster?

January 20, 2011

God bless the Internet. It makes research for many things, so much easier. Particularly this week’s entry, since I found a few posts dealing with the art of movie posters. One post on SeattlePi.com wrote about how Mondo, a small company out of Austin, Texas that started as a sideline to the Alamo Drafthouse, makes high quality limited edition movie posters. The writer goes on to say that Mondo’s artists make better movie posters than the movie studios do. (You can find examples of the latest item for sale here: http://blog.mondotees.com/.) Another item, this time on the Thristy for Milk blog mentioned that recent movie posters are just photoshopped creations that are made by committee and don’t compare to movie posters of the past.

Yes, many current movie posters are just photoshopped creations and many fan created items are works of art, still before the wholesale basing of today’s movie posters continues any further know that:

1.)   While movie posters prior to the 1970’s were drawn, the art department had to bend to what the studio heads wanted.  After all, the studio heads were the ones who signed their checks and if the people in the art department wanted a job, they had to do what their bosses wanted.

2.)   Works of art like the “Mona Lisa” and the Sistine Chapel were commissioned. That means artists of the likes of Michelangelo, Da Vinci had to swallow their pride and do what the patron wanted. Granted, Michelangelo clashed with Pope Julius II during the years he worked on the chapel and Da Vinci was such a perfectionist that he took the Mona Lisa with him to France, so he could continue working on it, when he was appointed as “the first painter, engineer and architect” for King Francis I. Up until the late 1700’s, most artists, if they wanted to eat, attached themselves to the nobility and they did what they were told.

3.)   Don’t knock all “modern” movie posters.  Modern photographic and design tools are just that—tools. It takes imagination and a keen eye to use those tools to create a movie poster that is worthy to be called a work of art.  Don’t believe me. Just look at the posters for the final Matrix movie, Black Swan, A. I., American Beauty—just to name a few and you’ll see what I mean. (It also helps when the studio heads don’t overdo the suggestions.)

So, reports of the artistic movie poster being dead are greatly exaggerated.

Sources:
http://www.seattlepi.com/movies/433305_film43568774.html

http://thirstyformilk.wordpress.com/2011/01/10/the-state-of-movie-posters/

http://www.timelineindex.com/content/view/1324

http://www.oil-paintings-reproductions.com/Articles/Leonardo-da-Vinci.html

What Lurks In Your Walls Or Some People Have All The Luck

October 20, 2010

As I have stated many times before, I love the Antiques Roadshow[1].  I especially love hearing the stories of how people happened to find their treasures. Usually people find things at yard sales, estate sales, tucked away in an attic, a basement, a closet or even curbside. Well, not too long ago there were two people who found treasures in their home that would astound the appraisers at the Antiques Roadshow.

First there’s Blair Pitre of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He bought a turn of the century bungalow and started work on renovating it.  As he was tearing down the walls, he found movie posters from the late 1920’s/early 1930’s featuring actors such as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford. This is an important period in the history of motion pictures because the industry was transitioning from silent to talkies. The previous owner, an 80-year-old woman who died in 2009, was the granddaughter of an early twentieth century movie theater owner in Pitre’s town. As to why the posters were in the wall, most likely she used them as insulation and never thought that they would be worth anything. Pitre had the posters auctioned off to help pay for renovation of his house. One poster, Bulldog Drummond, a drama from 1929 sold for $9,000. Pitre hopes to find more posters in his home. In particular, he is hoping to find Metropolis, since that poster is worth a million dollars.

Next there’s retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober. For as long as he could remember, a painting of the Virgin Mary crying over the crucified Jesus has been in his family.  Family lore said that the painting was a Michelangelo. The item hung over the sofa of his parents home, until the day when the younger Kober threw a tennis ball and knocked it off the wall. His parents then wrapped it up and kept it behind the sofa. When Kober retired in 2003, he decided to research the history of this painting. One expert, Antonio Forcellino says that the painting is a actual Michelangelo painting, another expert, William Wallace says that it isn’t. Forcellino bases his claims on his expertise as a restorer, as well as the painting’s similarity to a drawing Michelangelo did that is now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Wallace states that while the piece is impressive, it was not done by Michelangelo. So, who’s right? Time and more examination by experts will tell.

Still, what I want to know is why are Pitre and Kober so lucky? How come their treasures were right under their noses and all that’s in my walls is insulation and all that is behind my sofa are dust bunnies? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Sources:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Lost+found+Vintage+movie+posters+fetch/3300921/story.html

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/12/new.york.painting


[1] Antiques Roadshow is the American version of the BBC television show of the same name that airs on PBS. This show has people bringing their antique and collectible items to appraisers and the appraisers tell them if their items are worth anything. Sometimes the items are worth something and sometimes they aren’t.