20 films and series about artists

Cinematography often turns to themes of other arts, and painting is one of the most rewarding subjects. The best films and series about artists show the stories of creating bright masterpieces and bring to the stage no less colorful creators – colorful authors of paintings. Modern biographical news and time-tested cinema will tell about the sunny and shadowy side of the life of the masters of the brush.

Leonardo (TV series 2021)

An exciting novelty of historical cinema is dedicated to the great artist and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci. The legendary representative of the Renaissance belongs to the prototypes of the car, bicycle, searchlight and hang glider. In painting, Leonardo was also a revolutionary, but the name of Mona Lisa is known even to those who contemplated drawings only in garages. The series will lift the veil of the secrets of the personal life of a genius – no less interesting than his work.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Leonardo

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Aidan Turner, Freddie Highmore, Giancarlo Giannini …

Country:
Italy, USA, UK, France, Spain

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.1


Work without authorship (2018)

Among films about artists of recent years, the biographical drama about a talented painter from Germany has the highest rating. The protagonist is Kurt Barnert, whose personality is based on the photorealist master Gerhard Richter. The young artist stops at nothing in his desire to freely create and experiment. Putting everything on the line, a thirty-year-old German decides to escape from the GDR to the FRG in order to study at an innovative university of arts. Will this risk be justified and what unexpected discovery will happen in Kurt’s life?

Original title:
Werk ohne Autor

Genre:
Biography, drama, military, melodrama

Actors:
Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, Paula Ber…

Country:
Germany, Italy

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
18+


Van Gogh. On the Threshold of Eternity (2018)

Dramatic feature film about one of the greatest post-impressionists, Vincent van Gogh. Famous not only for his creativity, but also for his thorny, full of suffering life path, the master was truly devoted only to art. The drama shows the history of the painter – how relations developed with important people for him, what role France played in his life, what cost Van Gogh his posthumous fame and world recognition.

Original title:
At Eternity’s Gate

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac …

Country:
Ireland, Switzerland, UK, France, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Big Eyes (2014)

In the list of the best films about artists – an exciting story based on real events. In the biography of this woman, the criminal line is intertwined with a creative and psychological drama . In the 1950s, a scandal erupted in the United States, which hit the top of the world gossip column. Margaret Keane, the wife of the iconic pop artist famous for her portraits of big-eyed children, has accused her husband of embezzling her work. What is behind the unexpected statement, and how will the sensational showdown between the former spouses end?

Original title:
Big Eyes

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, crime, biography

Actors:
Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Krysten Ritter …

Country:
USA, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
16+


William Turner (2014)

A film about the final stage of the life of William Turner, the great English marine painter. The author of incredibly beautiful seascapes and one of the inspirers of the Impressionists is grieving the death of his father, who was his support and close friend. The artist seeks solace and peace of mind in romantic relationships, as well as in creative experiments at the easel.

original title :
Mr. Turner

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson, Dorothy Atkinson …

Country:
UK, France, Germany, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
12+


Renoir. Last Love (2012)

The film describes the relationship of the impressionist Auguste Renoir with his son Jean and model André Gesling. If Renoir has long been a recognized painter, then the young Andre and Jean are still looking for themselves, and in the summer of 1915, which is shown in the film, they fall in love with each other. At the same time, the red-haired model continues to inspire the older Renoir to work. An atmospheric film about art and a 74-year-old artist, conveying the drama of the master’s near death amidst the exuberant splendor of youth and nature.

Original title:
Renoir

Genre:
Melodrama

Actors:
Michel Bouquet, Christa There, Vincent Rotier …

Country:
France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
12+


Desperate Romantics (TV series 2009)

In London in the second half of the 19th century, a group of young like-minded artists created their own creative formation, called the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Rebels want to create contrary to the ossified Victorian canons. They are joined by journalist Fred Walters, who helps ambitious young men get into high society. A story about determination, friendship and the struggle for beliefs. In addition, the popular series is worth watching for the stormy love adventures of liberated heroes.

Original title:
Desperate Romantics

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Samuel Barnett, Sam Crane, Josie Farmilo, Tom Hollander …

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.5

Age limit:
18+


Serafina of Senlis (2008)

A biopic about the artist Serafina Louis, whose rare gift is discovered by the German collector Wilhelm Uhde, who previously worked with such masters as Picasso and Rousseau. Initially, Houdet hires an eccentric middle-aged woman as a housekeeper, but soon discovers that Serafina paints amazing paintings inspired by the nature of the French countryside. This is how a touching relationship between two completely different people begins.

Original title:
Séraphine

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Yolanda Moreau, Ulrich Tukur, Anne Bennent …

Country:
France, Belgium

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
12+


Echoes of the Past (2008)

The movie tells about the dramatic relationship between Spanish celebrities of the 20th century – the artist Salvador Dali, the writer Federico Garcia Lorca and the director Luis Buñuel. The unrestrained trinity on a grand scale erases the boundaries of morality with both non-standard creativity and outrageous behavior. Exciting the stiff Madrid society with their revels and creations, young geniuses set their own rules of the game for the bohemia and the intelligentsia of the beginning of the last century.

Original title:
Little Ashes

Genre:
Drama, romance, biography

Actors:
Javier Beltran, Robert Pattinson, Matthew McNulty …

Country:
United Kingdom, Spain

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:
18+


El Greco (2007)

A beautifully shot movie about one of the most enigmatic painters in the history of art. Among biopics about artists, this one stands apart – after all, very little is known about the life of El Greco. The viewer will follow the legend from the beginning of his creative journey on his native island of Crete to Italy, where the master worked for a long time, to the final destination in Spanish Toledo. Thanks to the magic of cinema, it will be possible to trace how the character and style of the artist, who was ahead of his contemporaries by whole centuries, changed.

Original title:
El Greco

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Nick Ashdon, Juan Diego Botto, Laya Marul…

Country:
Greece, Spain, Hungary

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
18+


Impressionists (TV series 2006)

The series is a retrospective of the memoirs of the last surviving impressionist by 1920 – Claude Monet. The artist tells about his personal journey through hardships to the stars, which is impossible without friends and like-minded people. A fascinating story about how Manet, Degas, Renoir, Basile and Monet himself overturned established ideas about painting, teaching people to appreciate and love fleeting moments, feeling the impermanence of this life.

Original title:
The Impressionists

Genre:
Drama

Actors:
Richard Armitage, Charlie Condo, Aden Gillett…

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.2, IMDb – 8.1


I Seduced Andy Warhol (2006)

Traditionally, in the biographies of great creators, their muses occupy a special place. In this film about the cult artist Andy Warhol, based on real events, his mastermind Edie Sedgwick plays a role no less important than the maestro himself. The girl was the star of her generation – a style icon of the 1960s and one of the brightest “it-girls” in New York. Not surprisingly, the relationship of this flamboyant bohemian couple consisted of rapid ups and crushing falls.

Original title:
Factory Girl

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Hayden Christensen…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:
18+


Goya’s Ghosts (2006)

Francisco Goya is experiencing the loss of his main muse and object of adoration – Ines, who was sentenced to death. Being in complete despair, the painter begs for help from the clergyman Lorenzo, who had already saved Goya once. Lorenzo agrees to get acquainted with the situation of Ines, but he himself begins to have passionate feelings for the girl. The French Revolution brings its own adjustments to the love triangle.

Original title:
Goya’s Ghosts

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård…

Country:
USA, Spain

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.5, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Modigliani (2004)

Not a single top film about the great expressionist artists can do without the biography of Amedeo Modigliani. Unusual paintings by an Italian with characteristic elongated faces can easily be recognized even by people far from art. In 1919, in the famous Parisian cafe “Rotonde”, a meeting place for representatives of bohemia, a dispute will unfold between the already recognized Picasso and the impudent Modigliani. Not only creative conflicts, but also the story of the fatal love for the dissolute Amedeo of the young beauty Jeanne will not leave anyone indifferent.

Original title:
Modigliani

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Andy Garcia, Elsa Silberstein, Omid Jalili …

Country:
UK, Germany, Romania, France, Italy

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003)

In 1665, a new worker named Grit appears in the Vermeer family home, forced to earn a living at a young age. Unexpectedly for everyone, the girl wins the favor of the head of the family, the famous artist Jan Vermeer, with her view of painting, light and colors. Thus began her journey from a simple maid to a girl with a pearl earring from a portrait, still mysteriously looking into the soul of the viewer.

Original title:
Girl with a Pearl Earring

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, biography

Actors:
Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Essie Davis, Cillian Murphy …

Country:
UK, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Frida (2002)

The painting is dedicated to the most famous artist of the 20th century and the victory of the unbending spirit of a woman over a crippled body. Frida Kahlo from childhood did not recognize the rules dictated by the conservative Mexican society. Nothing could stop her from wanting to paint, wear a man’s suit, marry a man twice her age at 20, support the Communist Party, and be friends with Leon Trotsky. Like many films about art and artists, this biographical film balances between the story of Frida’s non-standard work and her tragic fate.

Original title:
Frida

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, biography

Actors:
Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Valeria Golino…

Country:
USA, Canada, Mexico

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Pollock (2000)

Jackson Pollock is the leader of abstract expressionism in the United States, who created his own unique painting technique. None of this would have happened without the participation of Lee Krasner, the artist who discovered Pollock’s talent to the world, and who later became his wife. The couple’s relationship was tested by infidelity , poverty and Pollock’s progressive alcoholism, but his genius remained unchanged.

Original title:
Pollock

Genre:
Drama, Biography

Actors:
Ed Harris, Marsha Gay Harden, Tom Bower…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.0

Age Limits :
18+


Basquiat (1996)

It was hard to believe that this homeless looking Brooklyn kid who was sleepily wandering the streets of the Big Apple was a real genius. Starting his way with graffiti on the streets of New York, Jean-Michel Basquiat in just a year conquered Andy Warhol himself, as well as many influential Manhattan curators. An American biopic is a dramatic film about the famous bohemian artist and his short but colorful life.

Original title:
Basquiat

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Jeffrey Wright, Michael Wincott, Benicio Del Toro …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Live life with Picasso (1996)

Everyone knows about the work of the famous founder of cubism, Pablo Picasso. Less is known about how the personal life of the loving master proceeded. The film is dedicated to the painter’s last serious relationship with the French graphic artist Francoise Gilot. How did this woman of character manage to curb the fiery temper of the Spaniard, creating side by side with him for a decade?

Original title:
Surviving Picasso

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, biography

Actors:
Anthony Hopkins, Natasha McElhone, Julianne Moore …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:
16+


Vincent and Theo (1990)

The Dutch Vincent and Theo van Gogh shared the same passion – for painting, as the eldest of the brothers saw it. And if Vincent painted countless canvases, trying to have time to realize his gift, Theo, with no less persistence, tried to sell them in European capitals. They had a difficult relationship, but even the brothers, blinded by their dreams, remained the most devoted friends to each other until the end of their days.

Original title:
Vincent & Theo

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Tim Roth, Paul Rees, Adrian Brian…

Country:
France, Netherlands, UK, Germany, Italy, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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