Fine Arts on Film: The Hand-Painted Work of Stan Brakhage


  • Sabrina Negri University of Colorado Boulder



film preservation, experimental cinema, Stan Brakhage, hand-painted film, originality, cinema studies


This paper will approach the topic of colour in cinema by examining the case of the hand-painted films made by experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage. Specifically, I will present the example of some hand-coloured pre-print elements belonging to the National Cinema Museum in Turin and preserved at the Haghefilm lab in Amsterdam in 2011. I will argue that these films challenge traditional understandings of cinema by belonging simultaneously to the realm of film and to that of the fine arts and will show the consequences of this liminal position both at a practical and a theoretical level. In particular, I will explore the challenges related to the preservation of some of these films, and will relate them to broader issues of originality, medium specificity, and philological recreation of experimental cinema practices.


Fossati, G. (2018) From Grain to Pixel: The Archival Life of Film in Transition. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Negri, S. (2016) “Simulating the Past. Digital Preservation of Moving Images and the 'End of Cinema'”, Cinéma&Cie XVI, 26/27, pp. 45-54.

Sitney, P. A. (2002) Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde, 1943-2000. New York: Oxfrod University Press.

Smith, V. (2018) The Hand-Painted Films of Stan Brakhage: An Interdisciplinary and Phenomenological Exploration of Painted Moving Images. Ph.D. Thesis, University of Portsmouth.

Toscano, M. (2006) “Archiving Brakhage”, Journal of Film Preservation 72, pp. 13-25.




How to Cite

Negri, S. (2022) “Fine Arts on Film: The Hand-Painted Work of Stan Brakhage”, Cultura e Scienza del Colore - Color Culture and Science, 14(01), pp. 73–78. doi: 10.23738/CCSJ.140109.



Color Photography & Film papers