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As a film director, subsequently, he drew on his gift as an artist. This is borne out by the hundreds of his drawings for the films Alexander Nevsky and Ivan Grozny, by his sketches for Wagners Die Walkure which he staged for the Bolshoi Theatre, and his cartoons for a ballet of his conception and the ballet-masters rehearsal of it.
Yet his drawings as such, without applied purposes, continued to engage Eisenstein throughout his creative career. Forever training his eye, finding the pitch of his vision in Serovs words which he liked to repeat, the artist solved a great variety of compositional problems. He demanded that his pupils, the budding directors at the film institute, should likewise learn to convey visual impressions to their finger tips, for the correct illustration of a gesture is not the photograph, but the drawing.
Pondering Serovs portraits, he noted that his characters were singled out from a host of accidentals and that these were roles thought out psychologically and ready to be acted. And this applies, as well, to the drawings of Eisenstein.
A case in point is the set of genre drawings : In Church, The Woman Reader, The Pulse, The Question Mark, The Blind, The Cinema Fans, The Sleuth, Timid," Grand Pa, a multitude of twin portraits on the eternal theme, He and She, Spanish Woman on a Balcony, The Bureaucrat, and Good Advice. In each of these we detect the strictest selection of the most expressive means, the desire to find the prime mover of each individuality, the nuclei of expressiveness, as Eisenstein put it, andwith this established as a base to proceed to the treatment of
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et le effort pour arriver de la & l'elabora-tion dun sujet, dune situation psychologique.
II faul ici la plus rigoureu.se analyse de tous les ditails et la plus vaste synlhese, en noubliant pas que Iexpression du dessin fondamental sera renforcie ou bien affaiblie par les details fonda-menlaux, disait-il a ses cleves.
Cest ainsi quil a proccde dans sa propre pratique de dessinateur pour exprimer son mepris et sa haine devant le monde des nantis, larrogance repus du bourgeois et sa mesqui-nerie obtuse.
Tout un groupe de dessins (A la mariiire de Gauguin, Bach, Maeterlinck, Ibsen), ainsi que ses sujets antiques tirent leur origine de sa reaction devant un style en litterature ou en art, devant un temperament decrivain, de peintre ou de compositeur. Ces dessins sont souvent ironiques, et lon trouve une certaine malice. Mais limage de Daumier pre-nant son vol, quoiquon ny retrouve point les caracteres concrets dun portrait, traduit bien le respect dEisenstein pour ce Michel-Ange de la caricature , pour la vigueur de sa satire sociale, la profondeur de sa pen see revolution-naire et la hardiesse novatrice de sa maniere.
Les sujets mexicains tiennent une grande place parmi les dessins dEisenstein, et il est interessant de relever quil revient a deux reprises sur ظ : tout dabord pendant le tournage de Que viva Mexico ! en 1931-1932, puis dix ans plus tard. 11 sinteresse ? lancien Mexique, a ses statues de pierre, & ce qui subsiste des moeurs du passe, mais aussi aux Mexicains daujourd'hui, a un peuple courageux en lutte pour son independance.
Un grand nombre de dessins d'Eisenstein sont consacres aux arts du spectacle : theatre, cirque et music-hall. Cc ne sont pas toutefois des portraits, mais surtout des meditations, le crayon & la main, sur une tragedie, un melo-drame, une comedic, une danse, un numero de clowns.
II sen trouve aussi quon pourrait appeler des itudes d expression . Comme sil rep et ait indefiniment un trait ou une gamme, Eisenstein sentraine a rechercher la ligne enveloppante ou les deux ou trois traits de crayon qui tradui-ront lensemble avec cette rigueur de composition laquellc il sest toujours attache. Ce qui linteresse, dans un dessin, cest avant tout lexpression dun etat dame: nesespoir, Tristesse, Peur, Elle et lui, Au pied de la croix, Nostalgie, le Peintre, Lhomme a la cape. Le depouillement du dessin est pousse jusquA la limite. Pourtant chacune de ses esquisses est un chef-doeuvre dexpression. Ce nest pas seulement un exercice graphique, mais une etude de mise en scene.
Nullement destinees a etre vues par dautres, ces oeuvres temoignent pourtant avec eloquence
the subject and the psychological situation itself.
What is needed here is the most thorough analysis of all the details, and the broadest synthesis, the expressiveness of the main pattern being fortified or weakened by the principal details, Eisenstein said to his pupils.
And this was exactly what he was accustomed to do in his drawings aimed f.o express his scorn and hatred for the world of the men of property, the sated arrogance of the Philistine and the appalling narrow-mindedness of the bourgeois of various shades and vintages.
A large number of drawings such as Gauguin-ism, "Bach, Maeterlinck," Ibsen, and antique themes were born of the impressions of various artistic and literary trends, or the personalities of writers, artists, and composers. Frequently, the drawings are touched with irony or even with intellectual mischievousness. But then, there is the drawing of Daumier straining forward, and though it lacks the specific properties of a portrait, it clearly expresses Eisensteins veneration for this Michelangelo of caricatures, the bite of his social satire, the depth of his revolutionary thought, and the boldness of his new form.
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