We often say that works of art speak up instead of the artists themselves. However, sometimes these masterpieces are not enough for us to penetrate the life story of the artist himself. It is therefore not surprising that these rich biographies of various artistic geniuses have become the focus of numerous directors. Today, we present some of the documentaries and feature movies about the great masters of fine arts.
Biographical Films About Artists
While it may not seem like it, making a good biopic is not an easy thing to do. The first and perhaps biggest problem filmmakers face when it comes to making a movie like this – is the selection of scenes from the subject’s life that they will try to relive in front of the cameras. In biographical films, the script plays the most important role. The filmmakers must compose it of moments from the life of the subject that will at the same time introduce us to his character, the environment from which he comes, and the influences that shaped him to become what he is today.
How To Sublimate Someone’s Entire Life Into A Few Hours Of Film?
The film is a medium that has no particular limit when it comes to its duration. However, the practice has shown that audiences simply can’t stand more than 3 hours of watching a movie. Knowing this fact – imagine that you have the task of framing one’s entire life, all the moments that marked it and shaping it, in which it remained remembered – to fit within 2-3 hours? Imagine you have to compress one’s existence so much and yet to present it with a sufficiently high dose of seriousness for the audience to have the impression of observing a living creature – and not the two-dimensional product of one’s interpretation? It doesn’t sound that easy, does it? However, some authors managed to succeed in this mission. Therefore, we present to you some of the best films and documentaries about famous artists, that made quite an impression on the audience and critics as well.
We can compare Frida Kahlo’s personality to one of Mexico’s liveliest parties or any of the many canvases she authored. Full of life, powerful, untamed and energetic – Frida Kahlo began developing her artistic oeuvre during her hospital stay after a serious traffic accident that intensified her talent. As she said, she had two major accidents in her life: One was a tram and the other was Diego Rivera – a famous artist and her husband. For the role of Frida Kahlo, the actress Salma Hayek was nominated for many prestigious film awards. Although she did not win them, she showed with her brilliant performance that the Mexican spirit of the famous artist was filled with passion, love and hatred. An exquisitely told life drama intertwined with artistic genius and the spirit of the times should not be missed, let’s not forget the fantastic soundtrack that accompanies the film.
Vincent & Theo
The interest in the eccentric personality of the famous Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh has not waned for years. The movie “Vincent & Theo” is one of the many films about the famous painter. However, the action of this filmmaking focuses on the painter’s relationship with his brother Theo – Vincent van Gogh’s main and probably the only sponsor. In the role of Vincent, Tim Roth appears, and his brother is embodied by Paul Rhys. This biographical drama by director Robert Altman has received excellent reviews from critics and we highly recommend it.
Matt’s Old Masters – Documentary Series
A great four-part TV series to watch. Matthew Collings, the author of the series, described in a great and receptive way the lives and works of four great artists. Each of them had his own style and left a mark on the art world of today. In 4 episodes, check out the biographies of Titian, Velasquez, Rubens and Hogarth. So different, but so similar at the same time. So unique in their art, and yet again – with some items that closely connect them. You can find more about this great documentary on IMDb. For all Renaissance art lovers, this documentary will be like an art treat. The Titian story will be especially inspiring. He is one of the main representatives of the Venetian school of Renaissance painters, who gradually acquired the skills of his painterly nobility. He had a keen sense of sensuality, the beauty of the human body and the warmth of colours. Most often he painted motifs from ancient mythology, so some of his most important paintings are The Bacchanal of the Andrians, Jupiter and Antiope, Venus of Urbino, etc. You can see some of the reproductions of these famous masterpieces on Meisterdrucke in the Renaissance painters section. However, Titian also painted his religious-themed paintings as well as numerous portraits of the most significant people of his time.
The hit of the Cannes film festival 2014. “Mr Turner” is a story about a famous English painter and the forerunner of Impressionism, who portrays him not only as a great and talented artist – but primarily as an ordinary man. The film’s director, Mike Leigh, said he wanted to examine the interaction between the artist’s peculiar personality and his great artistic genius, which continually drew on the core of nature and the world around him. In this movie, the iconic painter is embodied by Timothy Spall, who was awarded the Golden Palm and brilliant reviews of the profession for his role.
Pollock – Documentary
Not only was he a unique artist who was rarely born, but he was also a drunkard and a true rebel. The biographical documentary explores the artist’s search for the essence of contemporary art in which Pollock takes his canvases off the wall and places them on the floor. Pollock’s contemporaries such as Willem de Kooning or Peggy Guggenheim also appear in the film. Let’s not forget Lee Krasner, an influential American expressionist and Pollock’s wife. Ed Harris, who also directed the film embodied this famous artist in the movie.
Modigliani of Montparnasse
The year is 1919 and young Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani in the Montparnasse district of Paris tries to make a living from his art. Along the way, he meets Jeanne, a girl from a wealthy family and he falls in love with her. Her family is strongly opposed to their relationship because he is poor, suffering from tuberculosis and has alcohol problems. The film presents the classic story of an artist’s struggle for status in an art scene, whose fate ends just like most painters -rather tragically. The artist dies as an anonymous man whose talent is recognized only after his death.