6 of the Best Films About Art


Art is not often the subject of blockbuster Hollywood films. However, if you are an art enthusiast looking for some great films to watch that feature art and artists, there are several to choose from.


1. "The Price of Everything" - 2018

This documentary film by Katharina Otto-Bernstein Creative Producertakes a deep dive into the world of contemporary art.  Its themes explore the role of art and artistic passion in a modern consumer-driven society. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and garnered an Emmy nomination for Best Arts & Culture Documentary. It is now available on HBO.

2. "The Agony and the Ecstasy" - 1965

This film features Charlton Heston in the role of Michelangelo and was partially based on the 1961 Irving Stone novel by the same name. The plot revolves around the conflicts between Michelangelo and Pope Julius II while Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The film received five Academy Award nominations.

3. "La Belle Noiseuse" - 1991

This French drama was directed by Jacques Rivette and is loosely based on the short story "Le Chef-d'oeuvre inconnu." Set in France in the early '90s, the plot follows the story of how a famous elderly artist is inspired to come out of retirement to create one final painting of a beautiful young woman. The film was critically acclaimed and won the Grand Prix at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. It also made waves for its four-hour running time and extensive use of onscreen nudity.

4. "What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann" - 2005

This film was produced and directed by Steven Cantor and tells the story of American photographer Sally Mann. In the film, Mann explains the process behind early nude photographs of her children that thrust her into the limelight and talks about details of her life and career. 

5. "Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning" - 2014

This film premiered as part of PBS's American Masters series. It is currently available on DVD. It explores the life story of photographer Dorothea Lange through the eyes of her granddaughter. It features film footage, family memories, photos, and journals that were previously unreleased. Lange's photographs document five decades of American history, including the Dust Bowl, Great Depression, early environmentalism, and the World War II Japanese American Internment camps. Lange's granddaughter, Dyanna Taylor, directed and narrated the film. 

6. "Museum Town" - 2019

"Museum Town" centers on the story of a unique museum and the town it is located in. The MASS MoCA museum became the largest museum of contemporary art in the world in 2017. However, 30 years prior, the buildings that house it were the abandoned relics of a defunct factory. The film tells the story of how the museum helped a rural Massachusetts town transform from economic collapse to an art mecca.

These six films are both entertaining and educational. Casual and hardcore art fans alike will find something to love in this collection of stories about art and the artists who make it.

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