Movement made visible

Marey and Lecoq

Authored by: Clare Brennan

The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  September  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138818422
eBook ISBN: 9781315745251
Adobe ISBN: 9781317594635


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To describe Etienne Jules Marey (1830–1904) as a French physiologist would be like describing Leonardo da Vinci as an Italian painter. 1 Marey devised mechanisms capable of capturing movement as it travelled through space in time. He developed the sphygmograph, chronophotography, and, ultimately, cinema. His work made possible groundbreaking analyses of animal locomotion, air currents, wave motion and trajectories of moving objects. It advanced the development of aerodynamics, athletics, ballistics, computer-generated imagery (CGI), neuroscience and scientific management, among other disciplines. Yet, today, his name is known mainly by enthusiasts of early cinema and specialists in the fields he influenced. As Marta Braun, photographic historian and author of a seminal book on Marey’s work, says: ‘Marey’s discoveries became so much a part of general knowledge that we have largely forgotten who discovered them’ (Braun, 1994: 350).

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