Lotte Reiniger – Early Animation at it’s Best

December 28, 2008

lotte-reiniger-11

Lotte Reiniger (1899-1981) was a German artist and animator who created a plethora of animated films and shorts during her lifetime. Reiniger is noted for her creation of “Silhouette Animation” and credited with the development of the first full length animated feature “The Adventures of Prince Achmed” in 1926. Reiniger’s animation style may have been influenced by the Indonesian art of Wayang shadow puppets.

Wayang Kulit puppet from Java Indonesia

Wayang Kulit puppet from Java Indonesia

Each of Reiniger’s shadow figures were painstakingly cut and joined together with wire by hand. Each joint was moved individually and photographed as early stop motion animation.

Figures on the glass background during the filming of "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" - 1926

Figures on the glass background during the filming of "The Adventures of Prince Achmed" - 1926

After the filming, the backgrounds were color tinted. Below are some amazing stills from various films.

Still from "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

Still from "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

From "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

From "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

From "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

From "The Adventures of Prince Achmed"

Still from "The Frog Prince"

Still from "The Frog Prince"

The final project appears as the below clip from Lotte Reiniger’s “Cinderella” from the early 1950’s

You can see the influence that Reiniger’s animation had on other noted animators such as Mary Blair. Blair developed concepts for Disney classics such as “Alice in Wonderland”, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Peter Pan”, and “It’s a Small World” Some of Blair’s concept sketches for Disney are below.

Mary Blair concept art from "Cinderella"

Mary Blair concept art from Disney's "Cinderella"

More concept art for Disney's "Cinderella" by Blair

More concept art for Disney's "Cinderella" by Blair

Blair's concept art for "Alice in Wonderland"

Blair's concept art for "Alice in Wonderland"

One Response to “Lotte Reiniger – Early Animation at it’s Best”

  1. Betty said

    Regarding the reviewer who wonders if today’s children would enjoy Lotte Reiniger’s films, I don’t know, but, after just watching the Cincerella
    film I have to say I hope parents will certainly bring this historical artwork into their homes for their children to view. Knowing the gifted artistry behind it, seeing the richness of detail and finesse of movement, it is a fascinating and wonderful experience. It should be a jumping off point to do some creating at the kitchen table or in the classroom too. This is just the kind of thing that can awaken excitement for art in children. I hope I can find this in the public library in the future. Wonderful of you to share. Thank you so much. Betty.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: