5 stunning paintings in films (part 1)
We admire paintings on the walls of galleries and in our homes, but they can also be admired on the screen and immensely contribute to the popularity of a film. Sometimes they are used simply to decorate the interior, and sometimes the plot revolves around them. Paintings help to better describe the characters and make the audience reflect on beauty, human’s talent, and their eternal power over souls and minds.
- "The Son of Man" (1964) by René Magritte in the film "The Thomas Crown Affair" (1999)
The actors starring: Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo.
Everything is elegant and stylish in this film: an elegant tricky crime is committed by an elegant virtuoso criminal. Immortal paintings by glorious masters add elegance and gloss to the film.
There are a lot of famous paintings shown in this film - just have time to notice, but we will focus on one of them in this article.
The painting by René Magritte inspires the art-lover for the final stage of his breathtaking affair. By the way, this work of the artist was not chosen by chance, many believe that it echoes the idea of the film. The painting is actually a self-portrait of the Belgian surrealist. Magritte himself thought a lot about the interpenetration of the obvious and the secret in the character of a person. And the main character hides his face behind a "mask" for almost the entire film.
- “The Fighting Temeraire” (1839) by Joseph Mallord William Turner in the film “Skyfall” (2012)
The actors starring: Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Dame Judith Olivia Dench, Ben Whishaw.
The canvas depicts the last voyage of a participant in the Battle of Trafalgar, the heroic warship of the English fleet “Temeraire". 30 years after the battle, a steam tug pulls the old ship to the docks where it is to be dismantled.
The choice of this painting was not random: Sam Mendes, the director of “Skyfall”, used it as a metaphor, when Q casts a sarcastic phrase hinting that Bond, the same as the ship in the painting, has to finish his military service, as he has become old and useless. Bond pretends that he does not understand the hint and sharply answers that he sees only a big ship.
An interesting fact: the originals of the paintings are rarely filmed because old canvases can be damaged by flashes and spotlights, or by someone’s neglect. However, an exception was made for James Bond: the dialogue in front of the picture was filmed right in the National Gallery, in London. We see the real exhibition hall on the screen.
You can read more about the masterpiece by Joseph Turner in one of the previous articles in our blog: https://trendgallery.art/blogs/blog/top-10-most-absorbing-seascapes-art
- “Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1» (1871), popularly known as “Whistler's Mother”, by James Abbott McNeill Whistler in the film “Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie” (1997)
The actors starring: Rowan Atkinson and Peter MacNicol.
The fictitious Grierson Gallery in California buys a famous painting by Whistler for $50 million from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. The Americans ask the British Museum to send a competent person to preside over the solemn ceremony for the return of Whistler's masterpiece to his homeland. The British Museum sends the worst ever employee and that leads to a disaster: Mr. Bean will ruin the picture… We have no intention to spoil, and you will have a chance to spend a cozy family evening while watching this breathtaking adventure.
Fortunately, the story is fictional: "Whistler's Mother" quietly adorns a wall in the Musée d'Orsay.
- "The Bride" (1950) by Russian-French artist Marc Chagall in the romantic comedy “Notting Hill” (1999)
The actors starring: Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.
The film director Roger Michell explained the choice of The Bride by the fact that it symbolizes the desire for love once lost: in 1944, Chagall’s beloved wife Bella died, and all his life he searched for those feelings and her image, depicting her in his paintings. The main characters of the film were about to pass by their true love, but their romance was happy, in the end.
It is interesting that the same screenwriter, Richard Curtis, worked on scenarios both for “Notting Hill” and “Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie”. He is known as an ardent art-lover, and Marc Chagall is his favorite artist.
- “Self-Portrait” (1498-1500) by Albrecht Dürer in the film “Bram Stoker's Dracula” (1992)
The actors starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves.
A constellation of geniuses of the American cinema industry worked on this iconic and already legendary movie, including the prominent director Francis Ford Coppola.
The scene of the dialogue between the Count Dracula and the young lawyer Jonathan Harker is shot with a portrait of the young Dracula in the background. Coppola chose Albrecht Dürer's Self-Portrait to serve as an image of the bloody monster. The shocking truth is that in this mysterious masterpiece, Dürer depicts himself in the image of Jesus Christ. That is why for this analogy with Dracula, a flurry of social criticism hit Francis Ford Coppola, which in the end only fueled public interest in the film.
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