Renaissance: Music, Painting, and Sculpture

Start out this scene with some background Renaissance music:

Renaissance Music

According to Jim Korkis, experts in the field of Renaissance musicology like Genette Foster from Occidental College  were engaged to consult and perform the music in this scene (1). The entire Spaceship Earth score was composed and arranged by Edo Guidotti.

Two musicians, the male is playing the lute and the femail is playing the lira da braccio.
Post 2008 refurb with more color and music stands for sheet music

The score was based on Sinfonia 02 in C Major by Bach; or more specifically a variation on it by the Japanese artist Tomita as “The Sea Named Solaris”.

Making music for private family pleasure or small gatherings played a major role in the 16th century and required new print technology to print musical type which became an important sector for the European book trade (2).

We’ve seen these hedges before.  While it helps to indicate they are outside, they worry me that they are more about park construction. Regardless the male musician is shown playing the lute (plucked string instrument with a neck and a deep round back) and the female musician is playing the lira da braccio (like a violin, but with a wider fingerboard and flatter bridge) (3).

Two musicians, the male is playing the lute and the femail is playing the lira da braccio in older costumes.
Prior to 2008 refurb

IMPORTANT NOTE:   I would like to point out that the musician on the right is only the second female animatronic to appear since the Ancient Egyptian scene.   That’s about 2500 years in time without women representation.  Get it together Disney.


We see a fella mixing some paint.  I can’t tell if he’s just mixing colors or if he’s mixing pigments with a mortar and pestle.  During this time, oil paints were used and that’s what the painter in this studio appears to be using.

Scene from Spaceship Earth of animatronic mixing paint

Our painter is working on a still life of fruit, cheese, and a bottle.  Still life work was considered artisanal rather than artistic talent but by the Renaissance, several artists (Caravaggio, Figino) had challenged this convention.   Work typically depicted fruits, flowers, eating vessels, bones, and skulls (4).  This explains the skull on the upper shelf.

Spaceship Earth  scene of animatronic painting a portrait of fruit

I think its pretty cool that the imagineers need to set up the display with painting to match. The updates made to this scene were to include more detail and color in the painting and also provided more art on the artists shelf.  There is an additional portrait pinned up on the shelf along with the portrait he did of the sculptor in the same studio.


The Italian Renaissance returned the female nude to the forefront of creativity, in both fine art painting and in sculpture (5). Before the 2008 refurb we had a sculpture of the female nude in the works.

Scene from Spaceship Earth of animatronic sculptor working on a sculpture of a woman
Pre 2008 refurbishment

The 2008 refurb covered up the exposed breast with an awkward mass of marble in its place.   This is unfortunate because its not a lewd act by the sculptor or original imagineer. The female breast has been used as an exterior symbol of the female heart: a symbol of the many types of love and nourishment which spring from that source – not a primary sexual content (6).

Even when sexuality was a prominent element of meaning in an image including exposed breasts, they still remained a multi-purpose symbol, retaining their associations with maternity and security and love. – Anne Ashton (6)

Scenes in Spaceship Earth where the nipple of the female sculpture is covered up
Covered up – Renaissance Sculpture post 2008

Lame move dudes!


Because animatronics are complex, time intensive to create, and expensive – its common to duplicate the models that are made and dress them differently.   In this scene – The lute player is said to also be the Dwight D. Eisenhower from the Hall of Presidents (1).

eisenhower   lute


If you find this fella to be especially heartwarming, there is good reason!  He is also your host from the Carousel of Progress!

And the female musician playing the lira da braccio is the daughter from the Carousel of Progress!

girl      daughter

February 15, 2008 – current (narrated by Judy Dench)

Books make it easier to invent the future in every field, and the result is an incredible explosion of innovation that we call the Renaissance.

November 23, 1994 to July 9, 2007 (narrated by Jeremy Irons)

Scientists, explorers, and scholars spread their discoveries in books and essays. Poets, musicians, and artists fueled by the passion of the age created timeless works of beauty and majesty.

May 26, 1986 to August 15, 1994 (narrated by Walter Cronkite)

The Renaissance, a time of renewed interest in the worlds of poetry and music, science, philosophy and art. Behold, the majesty of the Sistine ceiling.

October 1, 1982 – May 25, 1986 (narrated by Larry Dobkin)

Our books fuel the fires of the Renaissance. It is a time to discover anew the worlds of poetry and philosophy, science and music. As our minds soar, our hands find new expression in the flourishing world of art. Behold, the majesty of the Sistine ceiling.

July 22, 1977 – Ray Bradbury script


  2. Pettegree, A. (2010). The Book in the RenaissanceNew Haven and London, Yale University Press
  6. Ashton, Anne M. (2006). Interpreting breast iconography in Italian art, 1250-1600. United Kingdom, University of St Andrews