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he Renaissance

Fourteenth through sixteenth centuries in Europe

In Bruges -- 2008
"In the movie In Bruges, Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are two hit men hiding out in the titled city. While in the Belgian town, they do some sightseeing. Throughout the movie there are many architectural marvels that date back to Medieval times. My favorite scene is when Ray, feeling guilty of an accidental murder during his first hit, asks Ken his opinion of the afterlife as they closely study Hieronymus Bosch's painting The Last Judgment."
Sade Brace, Hudson Valley Community College
The Wizard of Oz -- 1939
"Maybe I missed it, but I can't find anyone who has sent in one of the all-time classic art history references. The three kneeling hired hands at the end of The Wizard of Oz are a direct quotation from the three shepherds in Hugo Van der Goes' Portinari Altarpiece. Somebody has seen this before, right? "
Rotger Aikin, Creighton University
Metropolis -- 1926
"I know Metropolis was mentioned, but I wanted to mention within the film, aside from the great expressionist sets, there's the long still of the tower of Babel, which seems to directly quote from Brueghel's painting of the same (one of many from that period, I am sure)."
Kerry Herman, Brown University
Solaris -- 1972
"Slow pans of Brueghel's Hunters in the Snow in some scenes. Can't recall whether it's a shot of actual painting in the scene, or the painting itself as the scene."
Hon Khiam Leong
A Room with a View -- 1986
"The interior of Santa Croce, Florence, in Room with a View"
Susan Caroselli, Messiah College
"What about A Room with a View filmed on location with a segment in front of Uccello's Battle of San Romano in the National Gallery, London? It never fails to make me miss Tuscany."
Kathy Andrus, U. of Colorado
The Decameron -- 1970
"In general, I've found that the process of fresco painting lends itself well to movies: not just the cartoon-and-pouncing scenes in The Agony and the Ecstasy, but a similar scene in Pasolini's Decameron showing the Giotto-like painter (played by Pasolini himself) working on a church interior with his assistants."
Martha Hollander, Hofstra University
A Summer's Lease -- 1989
"The BBC production A Summer's Lease, shows a number of works by Piero della Francesca and beautiful shots of Arezzo's back streets and surrounding countryside."
Paul Hamilton, Univ. of Saskatchewan
Prince of Foxes -- 1949
"An earlier, seldom seen movie is Prince of Foxes, with Tyrone Power and Orson Welles as Cesare Borgia. This was filmed in and around Siena circa 1947, and wonderful scenes in and around the city; the princess holds court beneath Simone Martini's Maesta, for example."
Adrienne DeAngelis, Rutgers University
Bobby Deerfield -- 1977
"there is Bobby Deerfield, shot mostly in Florence, with lots of exterior scenes in the city, although anybody who knows Florence will be taken aback at the new street organization. It also has a nice scene in which the hero (Al Pacino), bringing his love groceries which appear to include Wonderbread in a pristine brown paper bag, stops to gaze sadly at the stucco Christ in the forecourt of the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo."
Adrienne DeAngelis, Rutgers University
Three Coins in the Fountain -- 1954
"Roman exteriors, the interiors of some Roman churches, the gardens of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, and the grotesque gardens at Bomarzo appear in either or both Rome Adventure and Three Coins in the Fountain"
Susan Caroselli, Messiah College
Reservoir Dogs -- 1992
"There's a moment in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs that employs an image of Mantegna's St. Sebastian (as print hanging on the wall) to foreshadow a violent event that ensues. I've never shown a clip, but have mentioned it in survey class as a way to underscore the enduring relevance of the tradition, even in the ultra-hip, postmodern world of TQ et al."
Charlotte Eyerman, Union College
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen -- 1989
"How about the Baron Munchausen (Terry Gilliam film) for the for the eighteenth century and a great Botticelli Birth of Venus?"
Patricia Trutty-Coohill, Western Kentucky U.
Antonia -- 1995
"What about the 1995 Antonia (a.k.a. Antonia's Line), directed by Marleen Gorris? There's a great scene in which a young woman envisions her child's lovely, blonde teacher as Botticelli's Venus (Birth of Venus)"
Catherine DiCesare, U. of New Mexico
The English Patient -- 1996
"For a more current example there's always the wonderful scene in The English Patient of Piero della Francesca's True Cross cycle at Arezzo viewed by torchlight."
Martha Hollander, Hofstra University
The Spy Who Loved Me -- 1977
"I just came across scenes from Piero della Francesca’s Legend of the True Cross decorating the villain’s liar in The Spy Who Loved Me."
Rose Aidin
The Last Temptation of Christ-- 1986
"A useful comparison may be the crucifixion scenes in Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of Christ and Antonello da Messina's Christ between Two Convicts with Mary and John the Evangelist from 1475 currently located in Antwerp."
David Fox, Harvard University
Viridiana -- 1961
"-Luis Bunuel's Viridiana, for a sequence parodying Leonardo's Last Supper"
Robert Belton, OUC
"One movie that has not been mentioned in the marvelous parody of the da Vinci Last Supper that is found in a film by Bunuel, called Viridiana, I believe."
Roger H. Boulet, Kamloops Art Gallery
M*A*S*H -- 1970
"I bet no-one has thought of the supper scene from the movie M*A*S*H played out while the dentist (can't remember his nickname but it had something to do with one of his appendages) is preparing to commit suicide by swallowing the Black Pill. His friends at the table arrange themselves for one fleeting moment into a tableau depicting da Vinci's Last Supper. I thought it was very clever..."
Jacky Ridley, UWO
The Freshman -- 1990
Arsene Lupin -- 1932
"Mona makes another appearance in Andy Bergman's The Freshman where Matthew Broderick's girlfriend (Anne Miller) claims that the Louvre picture is just a copy made to hide the theft of the original during its USA tour. John Barrymore steals the Mona Lisa which he wraps around his umbrella (Arsene Lupin, 1932)."
Robert Baron
Annie -- 1982
"The movie Annie (with Albert Finney and Aileen Quinn)has three references to artworks - the sculpture The Winged Victory, the Mona Lisa and a self-portrait of Rembrandt."
Joanna Duder
Looney Tunes: Back in Action -- 2003
"This video is definitely appeals more to younger students. However, there is a fun scene in which the antagonists chase the main characters through the Louvre and through the actual paintings. Dali's Persistence of Memory, Seurat's Sunday on Grande Jatte, and the Mona Lisa are included in this scene. "
Alyssa Flaten, Fergus Falls Middle School
Annie -- 1982
Ever After -- 1998
"I was surprised that you did not have Annie with Carol Burnett, or Ever After with Drew Barrymore. Both of these films have the Mona Lisa in them. In fact in Ever After it is stolen from Leonardo by gypsies. In Annie, Daddy Warbucks thinks it has an interesting smile so he tells them to hang it in the bathroom. Both films have a good showing of the picture."
Bentley family
The Shoes of the Fisherman -- 1968
"Here's an idea: I love the movie Shoes of the Fisherman, based on the novel by Morris West, with the poly-ethnic Anthony Quinn as a Ukrainian (or other Soviet bloc country) who becomes Pope (it seemed more far-fetched before John Paul II). Anyway, his election takes place in a remarkable facsimile (could it possibly be the real thing?) of the Sistine Chapel, with overview shots of the space, while cardinals process in etc. I usually recommend it to students, but most have never heard of it."
Paula Spilner, U. of Delaware
The Agony and the Ecstasy -- 1965
"The Agony and the Ecstasy and Lust for Life are more obvious examples useful for lectures on Michelangelo and van Gogh, respectively (not for a better look at the works, but as starting points for examining the mythologies surrounding those romanticized artists)."
Craig Eliason, Rutgers University
2012 -- 2009
Angels and Demons -- 2009
"2012 (shocking movie!) has a fleeting glimpse of Michelangelo’s David sculpture in a crate about to be shipped onto on of the arks at the end of the (shocking!) film – there is also a shot of the Sistine ceiling crumbling from an earthquake and shots of the Vatican.This was maybe a reference to Dan Brown’s (shocking) movie Angels and Demons where there was again a crumbling Sistine ceiling and whole chapel shot -- I would mention these first two in passing to get student interest in how art history concepts are used"
Joanna Duder
Six Degrees of Separation -- 1993
"You have a citation for Six Degrees of Separation which mentions the (two-sided) Kandinsky painting, but no mention of Stockard Channing's character in the Sistine Chapel during renovations where she is invited to slap part of the painting on the ceiling."
Rodney Love
The Rocky Horror Picture Show -- 1975
"The Rocky Horror Picture Show features Michelangelo's scene of Adam's hand reaching towards God (or vice-versa...) from the Sistine Chapel on the bottom of the swimming pool."
Rodney Love
The Merry Widow -- 1925
"The infamous (scandalous) The Merry Widow Director, Erich von Stroheim...(1920's) Amidst the tension between male/female characters..the male lead feels subjugated and the moment is illustrated by a little replica of Michelangelo's Slave...very interesting. (I hope I am not confusing this scene with another movie, Queen Kelly)"
Marta Budd
The Passion of the Christ -- 2004
"In the final crucifixion scene, as Jesus is slowly lowered down from the cross into Mary's arms, the camera pans out slowly. When the camera finally pauses, the scene is an exact replica of Michelangelo's Pieta."
Marie Bauermeister
The Portrait of a Lady -- 1996
"this submission does not really meet your criteria as the scene is so brief, but in The Portrait of a Lady (1996) Isabel Archer is shown striding across the Campidoglio. When I saw this I was jarred by the bare pedestal -- as it is now bereft of the equestrian sculpture of Marcus Aurelius -- but in the 19th c., when The Portrait of a Lady was set, the sculpture would indeed have been there, I think. Nice to see the Campidoglio pavement, though, and I think there was a glimpse of the colossal head of Constantine inside the Museum cortile."
Pat Thompson, Michigan State Univ.
The Conviction -- 1991
"The movie, directed by Marco Bellocchio, is a controversial discussion on sex, life, beauty, mostly taking place in Villa Farnese (or Palazzo Farnese) in Caprarola. The story starts with a young woman (Claire Nebout) and an architect (Vittorio Mezzogiorno) who are accidentally locked in Villa Farnese overnight. This enforced intimacy devolves into a night of love-making. But in the morning the man reveals he had the keys the entire time. The woman accuses him of rape. The question that dominates the court trial is, "Was it coercion or mutual passion?"
There are many interior scenes showing Taddeo and Federico Zuccari's frescoes, the famous spiral staircases and some works in the rooms (copies of Bernini's Apollo and Daphne and of a Madonna by Raphael). The scene showing the youg girl naked lying on the Villa's canopy bed is a patent citation from Goya's Maya desnuda. Furthermore, the movie contains some interesting discussions of aesthetics between the main character (the architect Colaianni, accused of rape) and the prosecution attorney about the unconsciousness and spontaneousness of beauty."
Margherita d'Ayala Valva, Arcadia University in Rome
Don Giovanni -- 1970
"Definitely, Losey's Don Giovanni for Palladio's villas."
Bertrand Rouge, Universite de Pau
Ripley's Game -- 2002
"Directed by Liliana Cavani; based on the book by Patricia Highsmith; John Malkovich as Tom Ripley. Much of the movie was filmed in the Veneto with views of the Villa Emo (Treviso) and the Teatro Olimpico (Vicenza) and some other sites that I did not recognize. The repeated villa views show the long stone ramp well; the views of the Teatro are brief."
Pat Thompson, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
La Grande Bouffe -- 1973
"Nearly two decades have passed since I saw Das grosse Fressen in Germany. The Italian or English film titles are unknown to me -- "A Beastly Feast" might work well in English. Was it by Fellini? In any case, the film used Palladio's Villa Rotonda and provided rather extensive exterior views before going inside. As I recall, we are taken all around the inside and outside of the building, providing a memorable feeling for the structure. At the time I saw the film I was convinced that I was experiencing the real Villa Rotonda -- upstairs, downstairs, and from various perspectives outside. Those who would use this footage in class should know where to stop it -- or be ready for class reaction to the banquet scene which involves extensive, mass fecal ingestion. Well, it is memorable and all the while we continue to experience the interior of the Villa -- if it is the Villa. How many students would be paying attention to the architecture during this main course? Enjoy."
James A. Harmon, Truman State U.
"I think Das Grosse Fressen must be the 1973 French-Italian co-production called la Grande Bouffe, with Marcello Mastroianno."
Emanuel Jannasch, Dalhousie University
Seven Beauties -- 1976
"One use of a painting in film that I find fascinating, is Lina Wertmuller's placement of Bronzino's Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time very prominently in the room of Shirley Stoller's concentration camp guard whom Giancarlo Giannini decides to "seduce" as a means of surviving the war -- in Seven Beauties. The opening sequence of jazz with an air battle is also most impressive."
Elizabeth DelAlamo, Montclair
"I also recall a Wertmuller film in which Bronzino's Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time was shown in the offices of a Nazi prison camp commandant, implying it had been looted, whereas the actual painting spent the war in the Uffizi (or wherever the Uffizi stored its paintings for the duration)."
Peter Walsh, Wellesley College
"Isn't the painting in the National Gallery and has been there since 1860?"
Ruth Liberman, NYU
Monty Python's Flying Circus -- 1969
"When I was taking art history classes in Mannerism, my professor pointed that Cupid's foot [from Bronzino's Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time] is the same one Terry Gilliam animated into the opening sequence of the "Monty Python" series - it squashes everything!  Now that I teach art history, I always make it a point to mention this - not that this generation knows who Monty Python is..."
Janet Oliver, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro
Laviamoci il cervello -- 1962
"You can admire two fascinating colored tableaux vivants - from two Italian Mannerist paintings - in Pasolini's segment "La ricotta" from the Italian movie Laviamoci il cervello (1962) (... aka Let's Have a Brainwash ... aka RoGoPaG), directed by Jean-Luc Godard (segment " Il Nuovo mondo"), Ugo Gregoretti (segment "Il Pollo ruspante"), Pier Paolo Pasolini (segment " La Ricotta"), and Roberto Rossellini (segment "Illibatezza"). The segment "La ricotta" (making a biblical movie about the death of Jesus Christ) is a black and white movie, and the two tableaux vivants are in color: 1. Jacopo Pontormo, Deposition c. 1528, Cappella Capponi, Santa Felicita, Florence; and 2. Rosso Fiorentino, Descent from the Cross, 1521, Cathedral, Volterra."
Enrico Costa, Università degli Studi di Reggio Calabria
Bram Stoker's Dracula -- 1992
"You might also look at Bram Stoker's Dracula. In the scene in the dining hall while the Count entertains his guest (whose name escapes me), Durer's Self Portrait as Christ hangs on the wall. There is only a quick glimpse of it- so quick that it could be easily missed. I don't know if they were trying to imitate Durer's appearance in the costume of Dracula when he moves to London, but I thought it was an interesting inclusion."
Christine Jack, U. of Alberta
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