Ruth Clarke shares this new series of films, made in collaboration with dance artist Filipa Pereira-Stubbs, designed to relax and restore body and mind, through guided contemplations of artworks in the Fitzwilliam collection.

Born out of the established UCM Dance with the Museum programme, the Look Imagine Move films animate artworks across the Fitzwilliam Museum collection through invitations to engage unhurriedly with art, through close looking, the imagination and gentle, expressive movement. The programme and films are part of the Age Well  framework which celebrate and foreground maturity.

The invitation

Narrated by Filipa, each film beings with the invitation to take time to sit with art by resting comfortably, allowing the body and mind to settle, ready to relax into the paintings. Taking time to absorb first impressions – colour, relationships, themes and content, the scene is set to contemplate the artist’s technique and skill and to move into the next stage of the films, the building of a more sensory relationship with the work.

In each of the four films, we travel through paintings exploring narratives, details, moods, and dynamics and at key points they merge with the dancers. The gentle, reflective movement sequences of the dancers in turn, glide through the narration, allowing time for reflection and response. Original musical scores by composer Kit Thomas heighten atmosphere.

The artworks and dancers, in the films, are held by the Fitzwilliam’s impressive architecture, a component of this work especially important to Filipa who expresses this in at the beginning of the films when she says of the Museum, that it is …

A beautiful and inspiring space to dance, an intimate stage shared with great works of art in which uniquely, individual responses can be built into shared dances that deepen the enjoyment and understanding of the humanity of art.

Look Imagine Move: the films

Nature and Symbolism
17th century, Dutch flower painting

Explore the symbolism and narratives in these paintings, noticing the delicacy with which each flower is depicted, reaching, leaning, tumbling, curling, floating – orchestras of moving of colour.

Drama and Morality
19th century British paintings

Experience the tensions and complexities of emotional and moral dilemmas, lean into a tale of foreboding and delight in the peace and quiet of ancient landscapes.

Sensuality and Power
16th century Italian Renaissance paintings

Absorb yourself in the rich colours and lush textures of the renaissance, admire women portrayed in still, fresh, and beautiful landscapes. Jealousy, anger, seduction, punishment, virtue and lust, the artists sweep us intimately

Seascapes and Skyscapes
17th century Dutch Golden Age paintings

Allow yourself to soar, imagine, dream in these scenes of vast skies and seas; contemplate the majesty of nature and the harsh difficulties of life in these paintings devoted to the moist, ocean air and the sun or moon glowing through ever-present clouds.

Look Imagine Move: how a museum became a place to dance

To find out more about how the films were made and the Dance with the Museum programme, look out for the companion blog post to this piece; Look Imagine Move: how a museum became a place to dance

Film credits

Directed by Peter Harmer & Filipa Pereira Stubbs
Cinematographer, Peter Harmer
Dance artist, Filipa Pereira-Stubbs

Dancers: David Hicks, Maddy Tongue, Andrew Tristram, Filipa Pereira-Stubbs

Original musical scores: Kit Thomas, follow Kit on Spotify and KAMO on Soundcloud

Funding: Marlay Group, Fitzwilliam Museum

The Look Imagine Move films are inspired by Dance with the Museum a collaboration between older residents of Cambridge City Council sheltered housing schemes & the Independent Living Service, Filipa Pereira-Stubbs and The Fitzwilliam Museum.