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The Mexican themes figure largely in Eisensteins drawings. It is noteworthy that he turned to this subject twice, first during the shooting of the film Que Viva Mexico in 19311932, and once more, ten years later. He was fascinated by both the ancient Mexico with its carved monuments and old customs, and the modern, revolutionary Mexican full of daring, and determined to fight for his countrys independence.
Many of Eisensteins drawings deal with the scenic arts in all their varieties : the theatre, the music hall, and the circus. But these are not just the portraits of their individual representatives, but mostly pencilled meditations on the essence of the tragedy and the melodrama, the comedy, the scenic dance, and circus art.
Some of Eisenstein's drawings cannot be defined otherwise than as etudes in expressiveness. As though playing endless scales and passages, he trained himself in the search for the contour that is struck by a single flourish of the pencil, and the two or three traits which could combine to reflect the whole, in the relentless search for the composition characteristic of his entire art.These drawings are focused on the manifestation of a psychological state : Despair, Melancholy," Fear, He and She, At the Foot of the Cross, Nostalgia, The Artist, and The Man in a Cape. The graphic terseness in these drawings has been stressed to the utmost. At the same time, each of them is a masterpiece of plastic expres-
des traits les plus typiques du genie dEisenstein, et notamment de ce trait qui distingue toujours la veritable oeuvre dart : la vigueur de pensee traduite avec le maximum de concision.
Nous avons trouve dans les archives dEisenstein une note sur le caricaturiste Phil May qui collaborait au Bulletin de Sidney. Un jour, apr?s que ce journal eut publie un de ses dessins, le directeur dit a May :
Pour sept coups de crayon, nous vous payons vraiment cher.
Je prendrais encore plus cher si je pouvais arriver a ne pas depasser cinq coups de crayon, repondit May.
Et Eisenstein conclut:
a Ce jugement sur I'eminenle valeur de Iellipse pour Iexpression nc concerne pas seulement la caricature.
Les dessins quil nous a legues portent & cet egard un remarquable teinoignage,
Toute la puissance de son talent, son cerveau de penseur et sa passion dartiste, Eisenstein les a mis au service de la societe sovietique a laquelle il avait donne sa fidelite depuis les premiers jours de la Revolution.
Lart dEisenstein comme metteur en sc6ne et comme dessinateur continue de vivre. Et son etude attentive sera dun profit immense pour de nombreuses generations de cin6astes, dartis-tes et dacteurs.
sion. Each is not just a graphic exercise, but a producers etude.
Less intended for exhibition than any others, they are nonetheless most revealing of Eisen-steins artistic individuality : of his depth of insight expressed in the laconic terms distinguishing the great works of art.
In Eisensteins archive we found his comment about the cartoonist Phil May who contributed to the newspaper "The Bulletin" in Sidney. Once, when his routine cartoon had been released, May happened to meet the publisher who remarked: Your drawing consists only of seven lines, and yet you charge us so much I To which May replied : If I were able to draw it in five lines, I would charge you twice as much. What has been said here about the value and importance of linear economy in an expressive drawing does not apply to caricature alone, of course," Eisenstein wrote in conclusion.
The whole of Eisensteins legacy of drawings is eloquent testimony of this conclusion.
Eisenstein devoted his phenomenal talent, his savants mind and artists temperament to the service of Soviet society of which he was a faithful son from the first days of the October Revolution.
The art of Sergei Eisenstein as both film director and artist is vibrant w'ith life to this very day, and a thorough study of it will undoubtedly benefit many generations of film directors, artists, and actors.


13
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