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7 Films About Art That are Definitely Worth a Watch



For art lovers, films about art and artists can provide a captivating look into the creative process and the fascinating lives of some of history’s most renowned painters and sculptors. From documentaries that examine an individual artist’s life and work, to dramatisations that vividly bring to life the art world of a particular time period, these cinematic depictions allow viewers to gain insight into what drives and inspires artists.

If you’re an art enthusiast looking for compelling films to watch, here are seven worth putting on your must-see list:

1. Frida

This 2002 biopic chronicles the tumultuous life and groundbreaking art of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. With Salma Hayek delivering an Oscar-nominated performance in the title role, the film vividly captures Kahlo’s passionate spirit as she overcomes injury and heartbreak to create her unique brand of symbolic, autobiographical surrealist works. The film offers art lovers a window into Kahlo’s artistic process while also providing a lush visual feast with its loving recreations of her vivid, colourful paintings.

2. Loving Vincent

For animation fans and Vincent van Gogh devotees alike, 2017’s “Loving Vincent” is a marvel, using oil paintings animated in the Dutch Post-Impressionist’s distinct style to immerse viewers in his world. The story follows Armand Roulin as he attempts to deliver van Gogh’s final letter, learning more about the troubled artist’s life and mysterious death along the way. With its striking, evocative visuals bringing van Gogh’s masterpieces to life, the film provides a uniquely powerful portrait of one of history’s most influential painters.

3. Pollock

Abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, with his unconventional drip painting technique, is the bold creative force at the centre of 2000’s “Pollock.” Ed Harris delivers an acclaimed performance as the visionary but tortured artist, depicting his volatile personality and intense creative drive. By depicting Pollock at work in his studio, the film offers art aficionados the rare chance to observe a pioneering painter in the deeply focused act of creating the unique abstract style he’s now renowned for.

4. Big Eyes

This 2014 biopic recounts the extraordinary story of American artist Margaret Keane and her fight to claim credit for her hugely popular “big eyes” paintings after her husband Walter took the fame. Amy Adams gives a stellar portrayal of Margaret as she develops her distinctive pop art style featuring saucer-eyed waifs but is unable to reveal she is the true creator of the works that shot to commercial success in the 1950s and 60s. Art fans will appreciate the film’s exploration of Margret’s artistic process and her daunting battle for recognition.

5. The Agony and the Ecstasy

Charlton Heston brings Renaissance genius Michelangelo vividly to life in this lavish 1965 epic that depicts the bitter rivalry between the master artist and Pope Julius II as Michelangelo labours for years on the Sistine Chapel’s exquisite frescoes. With its gorgeous recreations of 16th century Italy and the Vatican, the film offers art enthusiasts an immersive look at Michelangelo and his creative ambitions, brilliantly capturing his intense dedication to his craft.

6. Basquiat

The brief, electrifying career of neo-expressionist prodigy Jean-Michel Basquiat is powerfully dramatized in this 1996 biopic. Jeffrey Wright delivers a magnetic, untamed performance as the Brooklyn-born graffiti artist whose gritty, socially conscious works blurred the lines between fine art and street culture. Tracking Basquiat’s rapid ascent in the 1980s New York art scene until his tragic early death, the film is a poignant portrait of an iconoclastic creative visionary that art lovers will find inspiring.

7. My Kid Could Paint That

This captivating 2007 documentary from director Amir Bar-Lev follows four-year-old art world sensation Marla Olmstead, whose abstract art paintings sold for thousands before a controversial 60 Minutes report questioned whether she truly created the works herself. Without reaching any definitive conclusions, the film is a thought-provoking examination of art authenticity and the subjectivity inherent in evaluating any creative work. For art enthusiasts, it poses compelling questions about the essence of art and offers a revealing look at the complexities of the contemporary art world.

From immersive biopics to illuminating documentaries, films about real-life artists and their creative passions have much to offer art aficionados. Beyond providing an entertaining glimpse into the lives of legendary painters and sculptors, these cinematic stories can inspire viewers to reflect on the many facets of artistic expression and appreciate more deeply the gifts of great masters like Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, and Michelangelo. For art lovers, these seven films are certain to both educate and delight.

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