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7 Movies Based On Art And Artists That Every Art Lover Needs To Watch

Salva Mubarak
Senior Features Writer

Art and filmmaking are inexorably linked. Both mediums use visuals to translate the inner workings of the creator’s mind for the world to experience. It’s, therefore, inevitable that the two mediums cross paths. Filmmakers, over the years, have expressed their love for art and artists through their works.

From stories about some of the world’s most famous painters to an exploration of the true spirit of art, these movies are all about art. If you’re an art lover or someone who wants to watch more movies about art that are not The Da Vinci Code, these movies are perfect for you.

Loving Vincent (2017)

Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully painted feature film. Each of the film’s 65,000 frames is an oil painting on canvas, created using Van Gogh’s signature painting techniques by a team of 125 artists from around the world. It follows an investigation into the mysterious events surrounding the artist’s untimely death through a fictional protagonist Armand, who is tasked with delivering Van Gogh’s last letter to his brother. The breathtaking visuals are enough reasons for any art lover, let alone a Van Gogh fanatic, to watch the film.

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (2019)

This is the story of forbidden love between the daughter of an aristocratic family and a painter commissioned to paint her portrait for a future husband. The film has won many accolades, including the Queer Palm at Cannes, becoming the first film directed by a woman to win the award.

At Eternity’s Gate (2018)

Another Van Gogh biopic, At Eternity’s Gate also explores the suspicious circumstances surrounding the artist’s death, claiming that Van Gogh did not die by suicide, but there was some foul play involved. Willem Dafoe, as Van Gogh, earned an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Actor’ and was widely lauded for his haunting portrayal of the artist. The movie also starred Oscar Isaac, Rupert Friend, and Mads Mikkelsen.

Frida (2002)

This Academy award-winning movie is based on the professional and private life of Mexican surrealist artist Frida Kahlo. Starring Salma Hayek in the titular role, the movie follows her journey as she became one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and her relationships with fellow prominent painter Diego Rivera (Alfred Molina) and revolutionary Leon Trotsky (Geoffrey Rush).

Mr. Turner (2014)

A biopic of the British painter J.M.W Turner, this movie stars Timothy Spall (who also played Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter series) in the titular role. The movie explores Turner’s romantic relationships and his journey as an artist in the last 25 years of his life. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards, including ‘Best Cinematography’ and ‘Best Costume Design’.

Girl With A Pearl Earring (2003)

Based on the 1999 novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier, the movie tells a fictionalised account behind the creation of Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting ‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’. The story follows Griet (Scarlett Johansson), a young servant in the household of the Dutch painter, and how she became the face of one of the most prolific works of art in history. The movie also stars Colin Firth and Cillian Murphy.

Saving Banksy (2017)

While you can watch the documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop directed by the notorious anonymous graffiti artist himself, it’s this documentary that explores the commodification of art by following the case of one of Banksy’s most famous works, the ‘Haight Street Rat’. Through interviews with the artist’s peers, the movie follows how by attempting to ‘save’ Banksy’s artwork, the well-intentioned collectors were ultimately going against everything the artist stands for.

RPSG Group and HELLO! India are delighted to announce the first-ever HELLO! India Art Awards on April 25 in New Delhi. The awards will felicitate and appreciate the works of established artists, upcoming talent, new media, individual and group exhibitions, galleries that curate and showcase excellent artwork, various mediums of expression, and every domain of artistic excellence there is in India today.

Stay tuned and keep following @hellomagindia for more behind-the-scenes action, exclusive interviews, and much more!