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Some Sketchy Ideas About Italy

Courtesy of John Donaldson come these sketches by Herb Ryman; they are preliminary studies for EPCOT’s Italy pavilion. While they are merely sketches, they do convey a Rymanesque sense of atmosphere and – of course – hint at a cast of interesting characters in the foreground.

The landmarks depicted do differ somewhat from the pavilion as we know it. The campanile and the building in the rear resemble the St. Mark’s Square replicas found in EPCOT today, but the obelisk is more reminiscent of one found in Vatican City than in Venice. In the foreground, you can make out the caption “view from the Rialto”; this alludes to Venice’s Rialto Bridge, which does receive a nod in the current pavilion’s design.

Here’s another perspective on Ryman’s design. Note the caption for the puppet show and the organ grinder – and also that the art was due Wednesday afternoon!

While these pieces were never intended to be seen by the public, they are an interesting look at the early phases of Imagineering artwork. And perhaps they can make us mere mortals feel a little better that even the greats had to sketch things out first instead of going straight into painting a masterpiece!

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2 comments to Some Sketchy Ideas About Italy

  • RO93461

    The sketches show me so much more than the paintings. Herb said to be “specifically vague” and look at the power your imagination is allowed to have with these images. I am blown away by the calf and leg of the womb he drew in the upper drawing, right in the middle. Perfectly proportioned and most likely an eight of a second of his time to suggest her leg. Underneath the hood that man was a master draftsman. When you squint you see the whole thing. He knew Italy enough to suggest the architecture and give us something to finish in our minds. You can’t fake talent and experience.

  • RO93461

    Typo. I meant woman not womb.

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