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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"

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