Bringing Pinocchio to Life through Disney Animation

As only the second animated film released by Disney Studios, the 1940 classic, Pinocchio, remains to be one of the most beloved movies ever made. Originally written by Carlo Collodi, as the Adventures of Pinocchio, Walt Disney brought the story to life through stunning  character artwork and beautiful animation which changed the way animated  movies were made and perceived. Particularly, the advancements in effects animation are what set this film apart from others.

Pinocchio is considered an absolute masterpiece of Disney animation,” Heritage Auctions Animation Art Director Jim Lentz said. “It’s almost like they learned what they were doing with Snow White, and then perfected it with Pinocchio, which inarguably became one of the greatest animation films ever made.”

It is one thing to see and enjoy and appreciate great art, and another thing entirely to own it, to have it on your wall at home or in the office. Heritage Auctions’ June 16-17 Animation Art Auction will have lots of Pinocchio-related artwork, ranging from production cels to backgrounds to concept drawings to storyboards. Some of our favorites:

Geppetto, Pinocchio, and Figaro Production Cel Setup with Key Master Background features the film’s two lead characters, Pinocchio and Geppetto, the kindly woodworker who created him, as well as the precocious, scene-stealing kitten, Figaro. The image is enormously popular among fans and collectors for a number of reasons, including the sheer size – Geppetto is a full 10 inches tall, four more than Pinocchio – as well as the importance of the scene: this exact setup can be found in Pierre Lambert’s book, The Art of Pinocchio.

Pinocchio Geppetto, Pinocchio, and Figaro Production Cel Setup with Key Master Background (Walt Disney, 1940).

A Pinocchio Underwater Concept Painting shows Pinocchio heading out while walking underwater to look for Geppetto – a daunting task, in and of itself, but one made more challenging by the fact that he embarks on his search with a sizeable stone tied to his tail. The detail in the painting is extensive, but softened by the fact that it really looks like light is shining through the water.

Pinocchio Underwater Concept Painting (Walt Disney, 1940)

An extraordinary Figaro and Cleo Concept Drawing (Walt Disney, 1940) shines a spotlight on two of the film’s popular supporting characters, Cleo (the fish) and Figaro (the cat). Despite their roles as secondary characters, the two display immense personality – Figaro’s playful curiosity and Cleo’s elegance often draw the viewer’s attention in several scenes – throughout. This drawing raises shows Figaro teetering on the rim of Cleo’s bowl. Figaro spends some effort trying to get to Cleo for a possible meal, but their personalities are affectionate: Cleo flips over for a pre-bedtime belly rub from Geppetto and the pair even joins Geppetto to search for Pinocchio when he doesn’t return home after his first day of school.

Pinocchio Figaro and Cleo Concept Drawing (Walt Disney, 1940)

Another captivating underwater image is depicted in Jiminy Cricket and Seahorse Production Cel Courvoisier Setup (Walt Disney, 1940). The comedic cricket who serves as Pinocchio’s conscience is expected to keep the protagonist puppet in line, teaching him morals and life lessons while helping him resist the allure of life’s temptations. In this image, Jiminy gets around as would be expected of anyone of his size trying to travel underwater: on the back of a seahorse.

Pinocchio Jiminy Cricket and Seahorse Production Cel Courvoisier Setup (Walt Disney, 1940)

Speaking of resisting temptation, Pinocchio must do exactly that when it comes to the Coachman and Lampwick, a deceitful pair of antagonists who offer Pinocchio opportunities to make poor choices in his life. The two are among five characters crowding around Pinocchio in a Pinocchio Coachman and Lampwick with Pinocchio Concept/Storyboard Drawing (Walt Disney, 1940).

Pinocchio Coachman and Lampwick with Pinocchio Concept Storyboard Drawing (Walt Disney, 1940)

These are just five of the 99 Pinocchio-related drawings, paintings, sketches, prints and statues in Heritage Auctions’ Animation Art Auction. To see these and the rest of the 1,144 lots in the auction, visit


Written by: Steve Lansdale


Posted by Steve Lansdale

Public Relations Specialist

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