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!