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Films about, or which show the influence of, painters. This list is a mix of drama biographies, documentaries and also.some fictions
Not on this site:
Oscar: The Colour of Destiny,
What She Wants,
Rembrandt: Schilder van de Mens,
L’Amour Monstre de Tous les Temps,
Kurosawa’s Dreams has a section with Van Gogh
Caravaggio’s chiaroscuro lighting appears cinematic, especially suited to film noir.
Tarkovsky’s Mirror has Brueghelesque images (Hunters in the Snow..), and Da Vinci paintings like Ginevra de Benci feature strongly.
Sokurov wanted Mother and Son to reflect the style of Friedrich.
Brueghel’s Procession to Calvary is brought to life in the Polish-Swedish film The Mill and the Cross
Vermeer paintings have influenced films like Spirit of the Beehive and A Zed and Two Noughts
Greenaway’s admiration for Rembrandt and Dutch art generally as well as Vermeer has been apparent in many of his films.
For all the film’s earthy bawdiness, Pasolini imbued the spirit of and played Giotto, in The Decameron
Renoir’s dad and the impressionists clearly influenced the film A Day in the Country, with its swing scene and summer boating (and Satyajit Ray, a great admirer of Jean Renoir, in turn has memorable swing scenes in Charulata and Teen Kanya).
Bunuel’s Viridiana has a famous frame based on Da Vinci’s Last Supper.
Carl Dreyer’s admiration for Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi is reflected in his spare style.
Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon refers to 18th century paintings, by Gainsborough and Watteau, and uses chiaroscuro with candles to memorable effect, reminiscent of De la Tour, Honthorst..
Dali collaborated with Bunuel early in the latter’s career, and with the dream sequence of Hitchcock’s Spellbound
Rosi’s Italian classic Salvatore Giuliano refers to Mantegna’s The Dead Christ in its image of the corpse (as Umberto L has pointed out in the forum thread “Our Favourite Paintings: The Great Auteur Gallery”)
De Chirico was an influence on surrealism.
Edward Hopper has been an influence on several directors, e.g Malick’s Days of Heaven, Leth’s New Scenes from America, Hitchcock’s Psycho. e.g here . Days of Heaven also reminds of a famous Wyeth painting, Christina’s World
Edvard Munch’s Dance of Life reminds me of Carnival of Souls. Watkins’ bio of Munch is excellent.
Fellini Satyricon was influenced by Roman mosaics.
Lachim here has pointed to Friedrich in Herzog films like Aguirre and Fitzcarraldo; certainly the misty cliffs and forests, almost mystical closeness to nature and intrepid hero in Aguirre are Friedrichian (a subject worth further exploration). Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams is a fascinating documentary on prehistoric cave paintings in France.
La Belle Noiseuse is a rather different kettle of fish from other films included, the artist protagonist Frenhofer a loose updated version of Balzac’s novella The Unknown Masterpiece, which greatly interested certain artists, e.g Picasso. Another Rivette film, Hurlevent, was influenced by the controversial artist Balthus.
The importance of Rubens’ Descent from the Cross to modern Japanese culture and a popular televised book , is explored in the Belgian documentary Patrasche, a Dog of Flanders.
Escher fans in particular may find the Hungarian short Mind the Steps of interest. Another strange, disquieting animated short, Priit Parn’s Breakfast on the Grass, was (very loosely) inspired by Manet’s Le Déjeuener sur l’Herbe
See also my lists The Best Art Films, Kenji’s Japanese Art Gallery, Kenji’s Welsh Art Gallery, Kenji’s Gallery of Indian Paintings, Paintings of Spain and Portugal, Kenji’s Journey into Latin American Painting, Kenji’s Gallery of British Paintings, and A Visit to the Louvre, with a small gallery of paintings championed in the film by that titleLes mindre