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Everything here from data bases on art on film to international film festivals and symposiums.


Skyfall (UK 2012 by Sam Mendes)


Q: It always makes me feel a little melancholy. Grand old war ship, being ignominiously hauled away to scrap. The inevitability of time, don’t you think? What do you see?

James Bond: A bloody big ship.


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Source: You Tube by The8thDOCTOR


For an interpretation see

and for the use of the other paintings in Skyfall by Joseph Wright of Derby and Thomas Gainsborough which can be glimpsed behind where Q and Bond are sitting in the National Gallery from the same sequence see


This site identifies the appearance of paintings in films and offers brief, succinct analyses of their use:

The Program for Art on Film

The Art of Film Data Base

The Montreal International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA)

“African Cinema and African Arts.” International Symposium

2—3 March 2009.

“Spellbound: Art and Film”

“Spellbound: Art and Film“ was a collaborative installation to celebrate the centenary of cinema one year earlier between the Hayward Gallery and the British Film Institute from 22 February—6 May 1996 curated by the film historian Ian Christie exploring the relationship between art and film in a wide range of media. Installation pieces such as a room full of props by Eduardo Paolozzi (The Jesus Works and Store) could be found next to specially commissioned films by artists like Damien Hirst’s directorial debut Hanging Around, Steve McQueen’s Stage, Terry Gilliam’s interactive homage to his own Twelve Monkeys, Fiona Banner’s rendering of classic Vietnam war films as ‘wordscapes‘, Peter Greenaway’s In The Dark with its sound and light effects, rows of props and seats for an audience and a row of glass booths for silent live actors to sit in, and Douglas Gordon’s 24-Hour Psycho, which slowed Hitchcock’s film down to make it last a whole day. See Bibliography (under Christie, Ian) for catalogue book, which as well as double-page spreads on the work of the featured artists includes a historical chronicle of art and film in Britain since 1900.

The Cinematic Canvass

This is “a film blog dedicated to all things art in film … films about art or artists, films made by artists, films featuring artworks, or sometimes even film art.”

Painting with Light

One of if not the first book written on the art of cinematography by a cinematographer working for a major studio was first published in 1949. Hungarian/Austrian border-born, Alton worked on “sharp-shadowed film noir classics” which bore “his visual signature of crisp shadows and sculptured beams of light”, among others T-Men, He Walked by Night, The Amazing Mr. X and The Big Combo as well as his Academy Award-winning work on the ballet section of An American in Paris. The study’s main emphasis is on the many ways cinematographers and their camera crews can manipulate light(ing) for effect to create a film’s particular “visual mood” (all quotations from the book’s back cover). The table of contents includes chapters such as “Mystery Lighting”, “Visual Music” and “Special Illumination” where figures 75-79  are more than a bit reminiscent of abstract modernist painting (pages 30—31). See also


particularly for 1992’s Visions of Light.


Alton admits to going to ‘museums’ (as he obviously calls art galleries!) to study or rather “watch the big masters” who were “lighting masters even before Hollywood existed.” One of the greatest in his view was Rembrandt, for example Philosopher in Meditation, The Descent from the Cross and Belshazzar’s Feast. Alton then tried to apply what he had learned to film (3:25-3:56):


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Source: You Tube by Cinematographers on cinematography

Exhibition on Film

This is a series filmed for cinema at the world’s biggest art exhibitions and on location and the brainchild of the award-winning arts documentary filmmaker Phil Grabsky, who also directed many of the films. Meticulously researched including interviews with art historians and experts, new research findings as well as insights into the life and works of individual artists, great care and attention is also paid to minutely studying the individual paintings. For a list of the films so far almost all of which have gone virtually straight to DVD after their release see:


All the Possibilities: Reflections on a Painting by Vernon Pratt

2019 US documentary by Marsha Gordon + Louis Cherry 16 minutes see entry from the Sheffield Documentary website:


Exploring the intersection between art and math, All the Possibilities… offers an inventive approach to representing artist Vernon Pratt’s most ambitious work – on screen. The 1,450 square foot systematic abstract painting, All the Possibilities of Filling in Sixteenths (65,536), was completed in 1982, though only recently exhibited for the first time, posthumously, when all 256 panels were hung floor to ceiling on three walls in a single gallery space.






Ich und Kaminski (2015 Germany Wolfgang Becker) Based on the novel of the same title by Daniel Kehlmann, Me and Kaminiski tells the story of how the unsuccessful journalist Sebastian Zöllner tries to make the big breakthrough by writing a biography of the painter Manuel Kaminski, no longer in the public eye and possibly senile yet many years ago the talk of the art world at least for a while, fostered by Picasso and Matisse then famous for both a Pop Art exhibition and the fact that he is blind: He always signed his paintings “Painted by a blind man.“ The real painter behind the fictional Kaminski is Manfred Gruber, who completed 350 paintings and drawings for the film some of which have since been exhibited see


Tulip Fever (2017 UK/US by Justin Chadwick) Set in the 17th century Dutch Golden Age (though filmed entirely in England) and based on the novel of the same name by English writer Deborah Moggach, the title refers to the explosion in then dramatic collapse of tulip prices in a kind of version of our modern-day speculative economic bubbles. The artist Jan van Loos falls in love with Sophia Sandvoort while commissioned to paint her portrait by her husband, the wealthy merchant Cornelis Sandvoort. The lovers eventually invest in the tulip bulbs market. See the link below for how Deborah Moggach’s purchase of a painting attributed to the circle of the Haarlem painter Job Adriaenszoon Berckheyde (1630-1693) eventually led to the adaptation of her novel. On once being asked in general what sort of film she would like to make, she answered that she would walk into a Vermeer painting:


[Dutch] paintings themselves tell you everything about the lives of those people: what they were wearing and eating, practically what they were thinking. Those moments of quiet drama are like film stills — the wife at the virginal, the maid sweeping. You feel that if you blinked they would all start moving away into the rooms and you could follow them. That’s what I meant when I said I wanted to walk into a painting… The sets [for Tulip Fever] were incredibly beautiful — dark and smoky and atmospheric. I know, because I was an extra: I did walk into a Dutch painting.


While the film’s painter Jan van Loos is fictitious, a Jacob van Loo (1614-1670) did exist, a Dutch artist specializing in history paintings and nudes. The original portraits in the film were painted by Jamie Routley see link for more of his work:


A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

Georges Seurat’s 1884 painting has put in numerous film and TV appearances:


-See Ferris Bueller’s Day Off under Individual Films


-Inside the space capsule of Barbarella (1968) the right hand portion of the painting can be seen.


-In Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) Elmer Fudd chases Bugs Bunny through the painting


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Source: You Tube by tonebobb


-In an episode which in any case references several other famous paintings (“Mom and Pop Art”, Simpsons s10 e9 1999 see TV section), Barney Gumble offers to pay for a beer with a handmade reproduction of the painting.


Sesame Street recreates it


-“The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou” (s5 e11 2007) from the cartoon series Family Guy features a direct shot-by-shot homage to the Seurat sequence from Ferris Bueller as Stewie makes a list of things he wants to do before he dies of the cancer he believes he has. As part of his “bucket list,” he visits the Chicago Museum of Art


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Source: You Tube by kemikall


-In the American version of The Office the cast recreates the painting in “” (s7 e9 2010) see


-Then there is the musical Sunday in the Park with George with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The George of the title is a fictional version of Seurat, who can be seen continually working away at his painting. The Broadway production opened in 1984, and there was a revival by Jake Gyllenhaal in 2016. This version is the original cast from the Booth Theatre 1985:


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Source: You Tube by Dave Teves


See also


-The following Desperate Housewives episodes take their names from songs or lyrics from the musical: “Move On”, “Sunday in the Park with George”, “Color and Light” , “Gossip”, “Art Isn’t Easy”, “A Vision’s Just a Vision”, “Sunday”, “Chromolume No. 7”, “The Art of Making Art”, “Putting it Together” and “Finishing the Hat”.


-Finally, in 2006 the painting was recreated in modern dress in Beloit, WI on a Saturday afternoon on the bank of the Rock River to promote the “Saturday in the Park with Friends” event see


Walerian Borowczyk 1929-2006

Born in Poland, Borowczyk emerged from a visual arts background, beginning his career studying painting and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków in the early 1950s before then establishing himself as a graphic and movie poster artist. Emigrating to France at the end of that decade he made one animated feature Theatre of Mr. and Mrs. Kabal (1967) as well as several animated shorts such as Jeux des anges (1964). He sometimes designed his own sets and developed a distinctively painterly eye for highly evocative settings, his live action films often indistinguishable from his animated ones.


The multi-authored “A Private Universe” (see bibliography) identifies several elements of painting in Borowczyk’s work. Władysław Podkowiński’s monumental and aptly titled painting Frenzy of Exultations (Szał uniesień, 1894) can be seen on the walls in The Beast (1975). The general atmosphere of naked agitation plus the horse’s bared teeth, flared nostrils and foaming mouth along with the way the woman’s hair on the wind mixes with the horse’s mane all reflect the film’s preoccupation with bestiality—the painting caused as many scandals as did Borowczyk’s films!


Then there are the still life compositions of 1963’s Renaissance:


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Source: Yot Ube by Et Cetera


Finally, a “calculated flatness … characterizes films such as Blanche (1971) where the impact of medieval iconography is particularly evident. Borowczyk frames the shots as if they were a painting, with the characters looking out of its frame.” This can be seen in the last minute of the following trailer:


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A similar “shallowness of picture” is equally present in Goto, Isle of Love (1968):


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When Jean Cocteau was asked by Francine Weisweiller to paint her villa on the French coast (or “tattoo” it as he put it himself; a further point of reference is certainly Japanese art) he decided to put the result on celluloid. See the links for background information then the short film La villa Santo Sospir (1952).


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Source: You Tube by Sleepy Jones


On behalf of, an online Magazine promoting Polish culture abroad, I recommend to your attention our article:


KInd regards,

Magdalena Lazur,


Best gallery sequences in film:


Orkney Islands native filmmaker and poet Margaret Tate (1918-1999) made Garden Pieces in 1998, painted directly onto 16mm with animated images and titles. For descriptions (some by Tate herself) see


The filmmaker Maarten Koopman has animated the following paintings all of which are shown in their entirety right at the end of their respective sections:


The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel

Bedroom in Arles by Vincent van Gogh

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí

Nympheas by Claude Monet

Broadway Boogie-Woogie by Piet Mondrian

Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window / The Milkmaid / Girl with a Pearl Earring (final painting shown at the very end)


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Source: You Tube by utnapishti


In his follow-up, there is much more fluid movement with fluid transitions between the paintings. For example, it starts off by following the course of the apple plucked by Eve which segues into a face mad up completely of fruit to land on a table togteher with oranges (the first three paintings). In addition, the camera tracks through a typically nightmarish Bosch landscape which then turns out to have been dreamt by his Prodigal Son. Finally, the key gesture from Rembrandt’s painting – the man is standing to the woman’s right, his left arm reaching around her shoulders, the other on her breasts while the fingers of her left hand rest on his right one – is superimposed onto a variety of paintings such as cave drawings, Egyptian and Japanese art, works by Vermeer, Van Gogh, Ensor, Klimt, Miro, Picasso, Magritte, Bacon and Pop Art by Lichtenstein with the invented speech bubble “Now my lonely days are over”:


Fall of Man by Hugo van der Goes

Summer by Archimboldo

Still Life with Apples and Oranges by Paul Cézanne

The Great War / This is Not an Apple by René Magritte

Skeletons Fighting over a Hanged Man by James Ensor

The Clothed Maja / The Nude Maja by Francisco Goya

The Wayfarer by Hieronymous Bosch

The Jewish Bride by Rembrandt


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Source: You Tube by utnapishti


Gillian Mciver, author of Art History for Filmmakers (see Bibliography), is also a writing consultant, filmmaker and curator.

McIver also discusses how Admiral/Michiel de Ruyter (Netherlands 2015 by Roel Reiné) about the eponymous 17th century Dutch admiral “follows the visual style of the Dutch painters and the Caravaggists in using light as a way to model the physical characteristics of the film’s characters, to create painterly shots, and  … to include paintings within the film‘s mise en scéne“:


Clarissa Shanahan is an artist/painter from Philadelphia who explores the intersection of art and film. She uses film images as inspiration and teaches a series she developed herself on how to use film to examine painting-related issues. She also worked in the film industry in New York for close to a couple of decades. During that time she produced a lof of art work for film including the Lee Krasner paintings in Pollock and some of the other paintings for the Peggy Guggenheim Art of the Century series.

See also Film as Visual Narrative, a Resource for Painters and Creators from her VAWAA (Vacation With An Artist) project:


A painting and a film are created with the same visual elements … visual information that helps drive and support the narrative of the film. When we consider one still image, it contains the same structural elements germane to painting … both united in the goal of telling a visual story. We can look to one as a resource for the other. [C]omposition in film … relates to painting … compare iconic paintings and painting genres to specific films and film genres.This talk is for painters, film lovers, and anyone exploring how to tell your own visual story through the combined lens of film and art history.


Portrait de la jeune fille en feu (France 2019 Céline Sciamma. All the paintings, sketches and drawings are done by the artists Hèlène Delmairem, whose hands feature prominently as well)

From what judging by the clothes and candles appears to be the late-18th century, an unusual commission leads the Parisian painter Marieanne to an island off the coast of Britanny to secretly draw a portrait of Héloïse, who has just left a convent for young aristocratic women and is soon to be married. But Héloïse refuses to pose for a painting to protest against the arranged marriage her mother has orchestrated. Marianne is therefore left with no other choice but to observe her going for walks along the coast and in the evening paint her portrait from memory. Between mutual looks and glances, an irresistable, erotically charged attraction slowly develops in a further example of a reversal of the male into the female gaze see The Dutch Master from Individual Films.


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Source: You Tube by Meg


Pupils at Wald Grammar School in Berlin-Charlottenburg were given the task of photographically (filmically?) reconstructing paintings, something they obviously found ideal for doing at home:


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