Artists have always held onto the stereotype of being quirky and eccentric, making their lives quite interesting to delve into, especially those who have left a giant legacy behind. In the history of film and cinema, the lives of these artists offered fantastic quality content to present to the masses in both movie and series form. Here we will be listing 9 of our favourite picks of films and series talking about art and artists:

The Da Vinci Code, Directed by Ron Howard (2003):

Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou as Robert and Sophie

Based on the mystery novel of the same name by Dan Brown, a murder occurs at the Louvre Museum in Paris, and cryptic clues are found in some of Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous paintings, thus leading to the discovery of a bigger religious secret. This secret has been kept for over 2000 years and once it comes to light, it could rock the whole foundation of Christianity. It’s up to a Symbology Professor Robert Langdon to solve this mystery and break the case. What is the secret?

Frida directed by Julie Taymor (2002):

Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo in Frida

It is a biopic drama picturing the professional and private life of surrealist artist Frida Kahlo. Salma Hayek plays the epic role of Kahlo. A Mexican artist who, crippled by her back injury, still manages to put brush to paper and paints her way through life. She paints self-portraits, flowers, animals and other works inspired by the landscape of Mexico. Throughout the movie, you get to see the dynamic behind all her dysfunctional relationships: her husband, her affairs with Leon Trotsky and other women, and how these intersect with her paintings. Interesting, don’t you think?

Genius: Picasso, developed by Noah Pink and Ken Biller for National Geographic (TV series 2018):

Antonio Banderas as Picasso in Genuis: Picasso

A docudrama covering the life of Spanish surrealist and cubist pioneer Pablo Picasso. Antonio Banderas brilliantly takes on the role of Picasso in a later period of his life. The series unfolds on two periods of Picasso’s life: as a young man as he first discovers his talent, and then as a celebrated artist as he struggles with the rise of Fascism and the price of his fame.  We get to explore and see the different muses who inspired him, and how his painting subjects changed in regards to his personal life. Other changes we see include his shifts in political and personal alliances. His passion and creativity was a constant in his life and almost always linked to his personal life. There is more to Picasso than meets the eye: a web of mystery and muses.

Loving Vincent directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman (2017):

Scenes from Loving Vincent

An animated biopic drama about the life of the Dutch Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh. Not just animated, but animated in oil paint: a first of its kind, fully painted feature film. More that 100 artists came together and created more than 65,000 paintings to create Loving Vincent.

The film takes on a different perspective, one of a young man, Armand, who goes to Vincent’s hometown to deliver the final letter of the troubled artist. He meets with people along the way and takes an investigational turn and discovers there’s more to Van Gogh’s troubled life than he knows.

Art Sleuth a canal-educatif.com production (2013):

Art Sleuth intro

What secrets or mysteries have we yet to uncover in a Rembrandt painting? Or a Manet?

If you’re as interested and into investigation like I am, then this 10-episode docu-show will unleash your inner detective and help uncover some secret mysteries of the world’s most famous artwork in less than 15 minutes!

Each episode highlights a different artist including Botticelli, Vingee Le Brun, Bellini, Carpaccio, Holbein and many more.

Mr. Turner directed by Mike Leigh (2014):

Timothy Spall as J.M.W Turner in Mr. Turner

A biographical drama that explores the last 25 years of the life and career of eccentric British painter, J.M.W Turner.

We get to witness the many sides of his incognito life, as a traveler, a painter and a member of the Royal Academy of Arts.

 

Basquiat directed by Julian Schnabel (1996):

David Bowie (left) and Jeffrey Wright (right) as Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat respectively in Julian Schnabel’s film Basquiat

This film tells the story of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent starring Jeffrey Wright as Basquiat and David Bowie as mentor and friend Andy Warhol.

The film follows Basquiat as a struggling artist, his start as a graffiti artist by the name of Samo, his rise to fame, his drug problems and his drift from the real world. He was known for his unique firsthand take on New York’s art scene in the 1980s; mixing bold colors with text, figures and scribbles.

The Danish Girl directed by Tom Hooper (2015):

Eddie Redmayne as Einar Wegener in The Danish Girl

A film that tells the story of a Danish artist couple Einar Wegener and his wife Gerda. One a landscape, the other a portrait artist respectively.

The normalcy of their life takes a surprising turn, when Einar realizes his true self is a woman, Lili, and begins living as her. This story is one of transformation, love, prejudice and art and is one to definitely watch. Eddie Redmayne plays the role of Einar and does a fantastic job at it.

Big Eyes directed by Tim Burton (2014):

Amy Adams as Margaret Keane in Big Eyes

This film takes a dive into the life of painter Margaret Keane. Her paintings were all about children with ‘big eyes’, and that was her struggle throughout her life. After a troublesome period and two failed marriages, Keane takes matters into her own hands, starts over and retrieves what is rightfully hers regardless of hardship.

It is a journey of independency, love, struggle and fresh starts; so definitely add to this to your list.

 

So there you have it. A list of nine movies and shows about art to see this upcoming weekend. Do you think we missed anything? Let us know your favourites!

All image courtesy indicated in captions.


Haya Abdul Hadi

I graduated from American University in Beirut with a degree in Sociology and Psychology. I am an aspiring and ambitious writer with a love for reading, traveling, and pandas. I believe in having a dream, and a passion and just going for it without question and hesitation. So just go for it, or as Nike says “Just do it!” Always dream big, work hard and be happy.

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