Oct 2 2010 11:16am

Saturday Morning Cartoons: “Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase” and “Legend of the Forest”

Saturday Morning Cartoons are back! If you are new to the series, Irene Gallo and I will be trading weeks, showing two animated shorts every Saturday—usually quirky, often dark, and occasionally even cartoon-like. We hope you enjoy the movies below—if it leaves you wanting more, visit our Saturday Morning Cartoon Index.

Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase: A seven minute art history lesson, how many paintings can you recognize in this Oscar winning short? (6:59)


Legend of the Forest: The story of a forest and its inhabitants, as the story progresses, so does the art style, matching the evolution of animation over a century. Yes, it’s by the same Tezuka who did Astro Boy. (29:28)

Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase by Joan C. Gratz

Legend of the Forest by Osamu Tezuka

René Walling is a fan of SF, animation and comics, this has led him to co-chair Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, be involved with fps magazine for more than a decade, and start Nanopress, a Canadian small press. He looks forward to living on Mars where he would benefit from having more than 24 hours in a day.

Jo Walton
1. bluejo
Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase is astonishing. It's not just the technique, it's the real deep knowledge of art she must have to have even thought of doing that. That's just amazing. Thank you!
Cassandra Farrin
2. welovetea
Legend of the Forest is so dark and fascinating at the same time. Thanks for sharing!

In Mona Lisa, whose work is the one at the 4:59 mark, the long-necked monster (for lack of a better description)?
Eugene R.
3. Eugene R.
@2 - welovetea,
The long-necked monster at the 4:59 mark is one third of a triptych titled Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944) by Frances Bacon. The following image is Bacon's Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1953),which is then followed (naturally!) by the Velazquez.

- Eugene R.
Eugene R.
4. krispymac
I'm so glad these are back! always a delight.
Eugene R.
7. Rafael H. Mojica
I take it that "Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase" is a pictorial metaphor. Would any of those involved in this project briefly explain the metaphor to me? I am doing research on a novel that work with pictorial montage, and your explanation would be of great help to me. Thank you.

Rafael H. Mojica

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