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Beauty is a short film has been made by animating artistic masterpieces from Bouguereau to Caravaggio and Michelangelo to Rubens to tell a unique and touching story of beauty. It has done the rounds on the internet and thrilled thousands of enthusiastic viewers.

While watching it, we couldn’t help thinking of one of the most moving scenes in Hugo by Martin Scorsese, when the theatricality and craftsmanship of silent film come to life on Dante Ferretti’s memorable sets in 3D, which is to say the most modern technology used today. We decided to contact the Italian director who oversaw the Beauty project and here’s what he told us when we interviewed him.

Your video has been extraordinarily successful, but you must admit that not many people know your name or who you are. Can you tell us something about yourself and what you do?
My name is Rino Stefano Tagliafierro, I’m 33 years old, I’m a freelancer in the video industry and I work in Milan. I love to transform reality into something new and surreal, and I’ve often put myself to the test with music videos for Italian and international artists such as Four Tet, Stumbleine, Digitalism, Mobbing, M+A, Orax, Fabri Fibra, Morgan and Big Fish. Within the fashion world, I have made videos for Antonio Marras and Kenzo.

I read in your manifesto that you spent years searching for the images, but aside from the idea of paying homage to the history of art, I was wondering when and how you had the practical idea.
The idea behind “BEAUTY” took shape at the beginning of July and I began working on it immediately. The works were selected on the basis of the main objective for “BEAUTY”, which, in addition to being an ode to art, is above all a visual story about human emotions.

We’re complete amateurs at video making. Can you explain how you made the video and how much time you spent on the technical aspect?
It took me about five months to make “BEAUTY”. First I processed each individual artwork in the photo retouching programme Photoshop, using digital cut out – a technique that consists of cutting the characters out of the background and re-drawing the hidden parts through a long and meticulous “restoration” process. Then I brought the characters to life by using the animation and graphics programme After Effects.

What was the hardest part to achieve?
I ran into the biggest difficulties during the animation phase because there was a high risk of exaggerating the characters’ movements and therefore ending up with something that looked artificial. I carefully measured the flow of the gestures throughout the whole video by using minimal, non-invasive movements.

What’s your next move after all this success?
For now, given that the “BEAUTY” project has only just been created, I will devote myself to promoting it through the major festivals around the world, but a new idea for a short animated film using a very special technique is already taking shape in my mind.

I saw on your Facebook page that a lot of new friends have added you from all over the world after having fallen in love with your video: which comment has given you most pleasure?
Definitely the comments I received from the master of animation Bruno Bozzetto, who has always been one of my main points of reference.

Let’s play a game. I’ll ask you some simple questions and you reply with a painting.

Your favourite one in the video

Rino Stefano Tagliafierro interview Beauty William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Birth of Venus

William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Birth of Venus

One that you didn’t include

An interview with Rino Stefano Tagliafierro on Beauty, the animation video with paintings moving Caravaggio, The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

Caravaggio, The Incredulity of Saint Thomas

 What is the best thing about being Italian?

Rino Stefano Tagliafierro Interview Beauty Michelangelo, The Last Judgment and Rape of Proserpina

Michelangelo, The Last Judgment and Rape of Proserpina

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Dalì, Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening

Dalì, Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening

If you weren’t Rino Stefano Tagliafierro, what would you be?

Rino Stefano Tagliafierro interview Beauty Yoshimoto Nara

Yoshimoto Nara

 THANKS TO: Gar Giulo