n Slavic Almanac : The South African Journal for Slavic, Central and Eastern European Studies - The magic lantern, or the miniatures of the praxinoscope (circus and animation)

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-3386


The connection between the circus and multiplication / animation may be observed firstly in the fact of the invention of the praxinoscope, the drum of which bore a certain superficial resemblance to the circus arena, while the images reproduced in it were modelled on the genres of the circus and the items on its programme. Secondly, this connection is observable in each animated film (cartoon) by way of the presence of mini structures carrying information about the circus. As a rule, in the majority of animated films - not only those dedicated to the art of the circus, but also in those that do not deal directly with this theme - the episodes are presented as a series of unfolding circus-like miniatures, including juggling and balancing acts as well as tricks. The performances of illusionists and magicians exerted the greatest influence on the formation and development of the art of animation. It is therefore no coincidence that another term for 'multiplication' is animation (from Latin , meaning to bring to life), which implies liveliness and vibrancy. Many principles of the acts of illusion are imitated and mastered by many artists and filmmakers, as seen in the work of McCay ('Winsor McCay, the Famous Cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald and his moving comics') and to numerous other such artists, including Russian cartoonists.

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