There are artists, and then there are Artists, who leave behind a legacy so great, as to bring awe. Films have attempted to capture this legacy, but only a few truly ever have.
This week, we bring to you a compilation of great movies based on the lives of Artists we admire.
(This list is in no particular order and is not exhaustive.)
FRIDA (2002) – FRIDA KAHLO
“Frida” is the triumphant motion picture about the life of Mexico’s most famous artist…Frida Kahlo. This film is an excellent introduction to Frida Kaho… her life and her turbulent marriage to the famous Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.
POLLOCK (2000) – JACKSON POLLOCK
“Pollock“is a look back into the life of an extraordinary man, a man who has fittingly been called “an artist dedicated to concealment, a celebrity who nobody knew.”
LUST FOR LIFE(1956) – VINCENT VAN GOGH
“Lust For Life” depicts Vincent Van Gogh as the tormented genius, whose obsessive devotion to his art engulfs, consumes, and finally destroys him.This filmed biography was adapted by Norman Corwin from the best-selling novel by Irving Stone, which was in turn inspired by the written correspondence between Van Gogh and his brother Theo.
BASQUIAT(1996) – JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT
Basquiat tells the story of the meteoric rise of youthful artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Starting out as a street artist, living in Thompkins Square Park in a cardboard box, Jean-Michel is “discovered” by Andy Warhol’s art world and becomes a star. But success has a high price, and Basquiat pays with friendship, love, and eventually, his life.
MODIGLIANI(2004) – AMEDEO MODIGLIANI
“Modigliani” presents a the story of Amedeo Modigliani in a disappointing account of his relationship with his model and lover and with Pablo Picasso.
THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY(1965) – MICHELANGELO
“The Agony and the Ecstacy” is the biographical story of Michelangelo’s troubles while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II.
REMBRANDT(1936) – REMBRANDT VAN RIJN
“Rembrandt” joins the painter at the height of his fame in 1642, when his adored wife suddenly dies and his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that offends his patrons. By 1656, he is bankrupt but consoles himself with the company of pretty maid Hendrickje, whom he’s unable to marry. Their relationship brings ostracism but also some measure of happiness.
GOYA IN BORDEAUX(1999) – FRANCISCO GOYA
Francisco Goya deaf and ill, lives the last years of his life in voluntary exile in Bordeaux, a Liberal protesting the oppressive rule of Ferdinand VII. He continues to paint at night. Throughout, his reveries become tableaux of his paintings.
CARRVAGGIO(1986) – MICHELANGELO MERISI DA CARRAVAGGIO
“Carravaggio” is a retelling of the life of the celebrated 17th-century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld.
SERAPHINE(2008) – SERAPHINE DE SENLIS
“Séraphine” is based on the true story of the life and art of a simple maid discovered by a German art critic in the French town of Senlis on the eve of the First World War.
MOJ NIKIFOR(2004) – NIKIFOR KRYNICKI
“Moj Nikifor” tells a story of the amazing talent of Nikifor, a primitivist painter who spent his whole life in Krynica, Poland.
CHI HWA SEON (PAINTED FIRE, 2004) – JANG SEUNG-EOP
“Painted Fire” is a biopic of 19th century Korean painter Jang Seung-up a.k.a. Ohwon. Ohwon was an anti-conformist who stubbornly followed his (often liquor-addled) vision of art, living a wandering life and eschewing official honors. In spite of that, he nonetheless rose to fame as the greatest painter of his time in Korea.
ARTEMISIA(1997) – ARTEMISIA GENTILESCHI
Artemisia Gentileschi was one of the first well-known female painters. The movie tells the story of her youth, when she was guided and protected by her father, the painter Orazio Gentileschi.
YUMEJI(1991) – TAKEHISA YUMEJI
The final film in his acclaimed Taisho trilogy, is a bizarre, hallucinatory tale about the tortured inner world of famed 1920s painter Yumeji Takehisa.
EDVARD MUNCH(1974) – EDVARD MUNCH
“Edvard Munch” follows a rough chronology from 1884 to 1894, when Norwegian artist Edvard Munch began expressionism and established himself as northern Europe’s most maligned and controversial artist.
RENOIR(2012) – PIER AUGUSTE RENOIR
Set on the French Riviera in the summer of 1915, “Renoir” tells the story of celebrated Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, in declining health at age 74, and his middle son Jean, who returns home to convalesce after being wounded in World War I.
BIG EYES(2014) – MARGARET KEANE
“Big Eyes” is a drama about the awakening of the painter Margaret Keane, her phenomenal success in the 1950s, and the subsequent legal difficulties she had with her husband, who claimed credit for her works in the 1960s.
Do you know any great movies based on artists? Let us know in the comments below.