In honour of the 2016 Olympics in Rio I thought I’d give today’s Masterpiece Monday a Brazilian theme. This piece of concept art was made for the film The Three Caballeros and features Donald Duck and his Brazilian parrot friend Jose Carioca along with another South American Disney character the Aracuan bird.
This fun piece of concept art wast painted by Disney artist Mary Blair after she took a trip through Latin and South America with several Disney animators. Mary Blair is probably the most famous Disney artists there ever was. Her beautiful visual development art influenced films like Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. She also had an influence on the Disney theme parks. The design of “It’s A Small World” was based upon her art and she created a fantastic mural in the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. The tour she took through Latin and South America had a huge overall impact on her artwork. The cultures and art she encountered there inspired her to use unusual bright colours and odd shapes throughout her work. You can see that influence in this piece for she made for The Three Caballeros.
Jose Carioco is a Disney character who comes straight out of Brazil. While traveling through Brazil, the animators began sketching a real parrot they were shown there and from those sketches they developed the character of Jose Carioca. He first appeared in the film Saludos Amigos, which was made by Disney in conjunction with the U.S. government during WWII in order to help facilitate good relations with the countries in Latin and South America. It’s a pretty obscure film that most people haven’t seen, but it contains a mixture of documentary footage from the Disney staff’s trip and animated cartoons and musical numbers. Jose makes his appearance in one of these animated musical numbers, during which he becomes Donald Duck’s guide through Brazil. He appears again in The Three Caballeros, which is essentially the sequel to Saludos Amigos. That film follows Donald Duck as he celebrates his birthday with his bird friends in Latin and South America. As you can see from this concept art, Jose is a major part of Donald’s birthday celebrations.
Thanks to this painting of Jose Carioca by Mary Blair, you now know a little bit more about Disney’s connection to Brazil. So for a little fun, here are some links to the original trailers for Jose Carioca’s two films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. They give you a good idea of what these two very unique Disney films are all about.