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picture courtsey of www.yoygle.com
picture courtsey of www.yoygle.com
Growing up Sleeping Beauty was my princess of choice while my younger sister preferred Cinderella. Naturally, in American society then and now the Disney version of the tales were all that we were familiar with as children and even into adulthood. I was always secretly jealous that Cinderella’s castle was in Walt Disney World, and my Sleeping Beauty’s castle was in Disney Land. I have been to the other castle four times, but never to ‘my’ castle in California. Someday…
This page is dedicated to some of the available artistic variations of Sleeping Beauty. I hope you enjoy the information, and journey the many lenses of Sleeping Beauty storytellers.

Sleeping Beauty Disney Style
Original Movie Cover of Disney's 1959 release of their version of Sleeping Beauty - courtsey of wikipedia.org
Original Movie Cover of Disney's 1959 release of their version of Sleeping Beauty - courtsey of wikipedia.org

In 1959 Walt Disney produced the American animated film Sleeping Beauty based on Perrault’s fairy tale “La Belle au bois dormant”. Additional story work was written by several of Disney’s staff members, and the music featured the work of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. George Bruns arranged music to suite the film from Tchaikovsky’s 1890 The Sleeping Beauty ballet.

Walt Disney and company certainly took out the gruesome ending and doctored up the story in a way that would be appealing to a young generation. Even before the latest princess craze that has dazzled the American culture, young girls were delighted by the ideal fairy tale ending presented as Prince Philip rescues Princess Aurora from her sleep so that they can be wed and live happily ever after.

The idea that Disney puts names to all of the fairy tale characters (added or not) is a key detail that helps the viewer become more connected with the story. For instance, in most versions of the story, old and new, there is an evil fairy present. Disney decided to make this fairy more of a sorceress named Maleficent. Maleficent’s character certainly proved to help create the standard evil role present in Disney films. She is cunning, vicious, and trying her best to use her evil powers to destroy anything good.

The above clip show Briar Rose walking through the woods talking and singing to the animals about finding her true love through the song "Once Upon a Dream". This is one of my favorite moments in the Disney version of the story. The melody is beautiful, and almost every girl at one time or another dreams of finding their true love...it is a very magical moment they have created.

The Sleeping Beauty Ballet
Music: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Production Staged by: Gerard Charles

The above picture of Tchaikovsky is accompanied by a recording of The Sleeping Beauty - Ballet Suite, Op. 66 (Extracts) Act I Waltz (courtsey of youtube.com)

Picture of Tchaikovsky with a recording of The Sleeping Beauty Ballet Suite, Op. 66 (Extracts) Act I, Waltz. (courtsey of youtube.com)
In this scene, Carabossa, the angry, univited fairy marches in with her subjects and casts a spell on princess Aurora. Carabossa declares that the princess will prick her finger in adulthood and die. The Lilac Fairy, still having her gift to give, cannot reverse the evil spell but can at least make certain the princess will instead sleep for one hundred years and be awakened by the kiss of a prince.
Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty (The Royal Ballet) courtsey of amazon.com
Tchaikovsky: The Sleeping Beauty (The Royal Ballet) courtsey of amazon.com

Ballet Synopsis
An uninvited fairy, Carabosse, is enraged and insulted by the thoughtlessness and curses Aurora to one day prick her finger and die. Fortunately the Lilac Fairy still is able to bestow a gift on the princess and declares that although Aurora will prick her finger she will not die. Instead, Aurora will sleep for one hundred years only to be awaken by the kiss of a prince.
Entr'acteCarabosse and her followers prepare the poisoned needle and conceal it in a floral spray for Aurora.
Act One
It is Aurora's 18th birthday and the palace grounds are adorned and the celebrations begin. Aurora receives four suitors who pay tribute to her with gifts of roses. During the celebration Aurora takes a disguised Carabosse's flowers, pricks her finger and faints away. Carabosse reveals herself in victory and disappears. The Lilac Fairy proceeds to perform her promise. Aurora is taken inside the palace where she and the court will sleep until the prince arrives.

Act Two
One hundred years later, Prince Florimund is on a hunting expedition with royal escorts. While in the forest he sees a hallucination of the most gorgeous woman he has ever imagined; it is Aurora. In the vision, Florimund and Aurora are dancing and fall instantly in love. When the hallucination is gone Florimund begs the Lilac Fairy to take him to Aurora. Florimund finds the overgrown palace, but must first combat Carabosse, who would thwart him from entering. Once inside the palace Florimund finds Aurora and wakes her with a kiss. Florimund pronounces his love for Aurora and the king and queen give their blessing for their marriage.
Act ThreeThe castle must be cleaned and arranged for the wedding, as well as a dress made for Aurora. The Fairies arrived for the celebration as well as the fairy tale characters of Puss and Boots and the Bluebird and Princess Florine. Everyone in the palace dance in celebration and Florimund and Princess Aurora are married receiving the blessing of the Lilac Fairy.
CD - The Sleeping Beauty - Tchaikovsky
CD - The Sleeping Beauty - Tchaikovsky

Audio samples courtesy of Amazon.com: The Sleeping Beauty - Tchaikovsky

This small gallery shows a variety of visual interpretations of the character “Sleeping Beauty”. So much imagination and personality is present in each variation. I hope you enjoy the artwork I selected.
A gothic representation of Sleeping Beauty, painting by Nancy Farmer courtsey of nancyfarmer.net
A gothic representation of Sleeping Beauty, painting by Nancy Farmer courtsey of nancyfarmer.net
Below is a link to Nancy Farmer's website where she talks about her picture, it is very interesting to understand why she drew such a gothic version of this character. It was quite unintentional when Nancy’s picture, paininted in 2002, took its gothic appearance. She explains the process that occurred while painting what she calls "Sleeping Beauty" on her web site if you get a chance to visit. It is so fascinating to me that she included such long fingernails on Sleeping Beauty, as well as the cascading hair. If those parts of the princess grew so long because of her one hundred year slumber I would think the rest of her would have changed as well. Interpretation is everything though, and this is howMs. Farmer saw Sleeping Beauty at that creative moment. Looking even more closely at the painting it seems as though Sleeping Beauty is just floating in this painting, like some mystic creature. This gothic theme may be fitting though if thinking how primitive society was compared to now in the Baroque time that Perrault chose to write the tale that inspired such a beautiful piece of artwork.

Painting by Edward Brewtnall
Painting by Edward Brewtnall

The 1800's artist Edward Brewtnall’s interpretation of the prince finding Sleeping Beauty is what I believe to be such a classic look at this moment. When reading any of the versions of the story that has this scene occur I always picture the prince just standing in awe of her beauty, and that is what he seems to be doing in this painting. I also love how he is standing back at a distance, seeming just a little unsure that this moment is real. The dark colors, and messy nature of the vines and vegetation really help set the mood of the scene as well, making the princess seem just slightly unreachable. What a lovely portrayal of the moment before the princess is finally rescued.

A dreamy interpretation courtsey of www.polyvore.com from their fairy collection
A dreamy interpretation courtsey of www.polyvore.com from their fairy collection
This Victorian style painting is actually my favorite of my findings. I love the layout and the colors used to make this painting look so dreamlike. The framing of an angelic Sleeping Beauty is something that I really think makes this painting stand out, aside from the color choices used for the flora. The way the vegetation surrounds the frame is as though it is protecting such an exquisite beauty, and it even says beautiful at that part of the painting. Writing ‘kiss me’ above the princess makes this whimsical painting have a touch of playfulness in a circumstance that really is far from being lighthearted.

"Sleeping Beauty" 1912 artwork by Maxfield Perrish courtsey of rightbraindominant.com
"Sleeping Beauty" 1912 artwork by Maxfield Perrish courtsey of rightbraindominant.com

Perrish’s variation of Sleeping Beauty is almost Greek in appearance with the pillars and the floral headpieces on what are most likely the princess’s maids. It is such a lovely and elegant painting; I could see this showcased in an art lover’s home. The front of the picture is very light, and seems as if the sun is shining on the princess with perhaps a ray of hope. When seeing the back of the picture only then is the viewer reminded of the unfortunate circumstances of the kingdom being put to sleep due to the initial casting of an evil spell.

"Waking Beauty" oil painting by Lindsay Archer courtsey of www.lindsayarcher.com
"Waking Beauty" oil painting by Lindsay Archer courtsey of www.lindsayarcher.com

Archer’s 2004 version of Sleeping Beauty shows the princess far less comfortable that I would ever imagine her to have been in the story. It seems she is lying on stone surrounded in vines, and usually she is said to be in a lavish bed of some sort. The rays of sun shining down on the princess almost give this painting photographic quality, making the viewer believe the princess is real.

Lindsay Archer has a short explanation of her painting on her web site at: http://www.lindsayarcher.com/Oils-Waking_Beauty.html.

From the Gallery of Women by Susi Galloway courtsey of sgnarts.imagekind.com
From the Gallery of Women by Susi Galloway courtsey of sgnarts.imagekind.com
Below Susi Galloway's picture she had a quote by Shakespeare that I thought was beautiful enough to include myself. It reads:
O, how much more doth beauty beauteous seem By that sweet ornament which truth doth give! The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem For that sweet odour which doth in it live. The canker blooms have full as deep a dye As the perfumèd tincture of the roses, Hang on such thorns, and play as wantonly When summer's breath their maskèd buds discloses; But, for their virtue only is their show, They live unwooed and unrespected fade, Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so; Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made. And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth, When that shall vade, by verse distills your truth.
~William Shakespeare

Susi Galloway’s look at Sleeping Beauty is almost a cross between Cleopatra and a beauty from 1920’s America. The headdress is what caught my eye with her interpretation. I cannot decide if it should be hair, vines, or a headpiece of some sort. Perhaps even a combination of hair and vines, I just do not know. None the less, it is a stunning painting showing a close-up view of how she sees the beautiful princess as she waits for her spell to be broken.

Sleeping Beauty Through the Eyes of Sesame Street

Sesame Street always has given children and adults a great interpretation of fairytales. No one can report a fairytale instance like Kermit, it is always a delightful and fun event to watch. It is so funny that the creators decided to blend a little bit of "The Frog Prince" idea into this particular tale. If anyone can get away with that, Kermit can!

Visual Resources:
http://www.nancyfarmer.net/im_sleepingbeauty.html (Nancy Farmer Painting)
http://www.icecastle.org/artwork/pages/Sleeping%20Beauty%20(Edward%20Brewtnall)_jpg.htm (Painting by Edward Brewtnall)
http://rightbraindominant.blogspot.com/2007/05/sleeping-beauty.html (Artwork by Maxfield Perrish)
http://www.lindsayarcher.com/Oils-Waking_Beauty.html (Lindsay Archer Oil Painting)
http://sgnarts.imagekind.com/store/imagedetail.aspx/424a1323-d759-4d03-a831-6f3446d9ee5b/Sleeping_Beauty(Susi Galloway Art)

Audio-Visual Resources:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3OaxejZBe0M (Once Upon a Dream clip)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfqQvX8C0Go (Act I Waltz)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/recsradio/radio/B0000013SN/ref=pd_krex_listen_dp_img?ie=UTF8&refTagSuffix=dp_img (The Sleeping Beauty - audio samples)
http://www.hulu.com/watch/38867/sesame-street-muppet-news-flash-sleeping-beauty-and-frog (Kermit's Sleeping Beauty report)

Other Resources:
http://www.balletmet.org/Notes/Sleeping.html (Ballet Snyopsis)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleeping_Beauty_(1959_film) (Disney's Sleeping Beauty)