Friday, December 21, 2012

Tableau-Nativity Scene

I neglected to mention a very important art form of sorts that appears in film. I'm speaking of (if you can't guess from the title)-the idea of a tableau- a scene of "living art," if you will.

The historic epic favors the use of tableau because it will create a recognizable scene for an audience to connect to. For instance, in the recent film, Lincoln, I recognized multiple scenes from Civil War-era photography and art. This creates historical validity of the film because of the notable images it presents.

However, in honor of Christmas, I'll present a few Christmas tableaux to brighten up your season. Some, like the one I'm showing today is roughly inspired by art. Others are unique art forms, but surely art. Still others are faithful renditions of existing art.

The first tableau I'm going to present is from the Rankin-Bass Christmas classic, The Little Drummer Boy, which was made in 1968. The plot is irrelevant. But, obviously, in honor of the song, the titular Drummer Boy plays for the infant Jesus and Rankin-Bass presents this beautiful Nativity scene for the audience.
It's a simple Nativity, but has gentle beauty. The Virgin Mary is beautifully shown as a young girl wearing a brilliant blue veil, while Joseph looks rustic-enough to satisfy any stereotype of an Israeli carpenter. The Christ Child is not pictured directly, instead the light radiating from his divinity is shown coming out of the Manger.

While, this may seem ridiculous  I'm going to compare a '60s Christmas special to the Baroque Nativity scenes that I've scene. The reason I say this is because of the dramatic use of light-that lights up the Blessed Mother's face and creates a center of attention to balance the movement of the Drummer Boy. Overall, it's very artfully done. It's no Rubens, but it's definitely inspired by some Rubens-like art, minus the fleshy overtones.

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