"Also, think of including the last scenes from North By Northwest, which put Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, and Cary Grant on Mount Rushmore. (Hitchcock also put Joel McCrea on the Statue of Liberty.) Frank Capra's tour of Washington's temples of democracy in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington would be worth a look, too."
"FYI: Fuseli's The Nightmare appeared in Ken Russell's Lair of the White Worm, a version of Frankenstein (sorry, don't know title) with Sting and Michael Hedges, and in the CD-ROM game "The Seventh Guest" (reversed and cropped to just the incubus and the sleeper, not a photograph)."
"Jean-Luc Godard's Passion depicts a filmmaker reconstructing masterpieces by Delacroix, Goya, Watteau, El Greco etc. The elaborate tableaux vivants staged in the film offer an intriguing exploration of the tension between painting and cinema."
"Die Marquise von O_ is a German-language film directed by Erich Rohmer in 1976, with Edith Clever and Bruno Ganz. There are many scenes closely inspired by Caspar David Friedrich as well as the Nazarenes, and others reminiscent of David."
Martha Hollander, Hofstra University
"Die Marquise von O... uses visual conventions from Neoclassical painting to recreate Heinrich von Kleist's story"
"The PBS Masterpiece Theater presentation of Painted Lady should prove interesting and fun to use in a class of Art History. I intend to use the segment with Helen Mirren in the tub (an exact reenactment of David's Death of Marat) to see if my students recognize it and then to see if they can tell me how it's purpose has been altered (No longer meant to stir up support for the French Revolution.)This could lead to an interesting discussion of how the meanings of artworks change over time. There are also interesting scenes of high dollar art auctions, and paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi (who is also the subject of the French film Artemisia."
"The sequence of the visit to the Louvre by the three characters was declared to be a one-take performance, it contains no dialogue. Arthur, Odile and Franz are running together at an irreverently breakneck speed through the Museum's Grande Galerie. They have no contact with the art that fills the rooms, with the exception of David's Serment des Horaces which can be interpreted as a symbolic transposition of the Nouvelle Vague. A real-life security guard who tries to stop them adds to the intensity and spontaneity of this subversive act.
"A before-and-after voice-over by Jean-Luc Godard: "The river Seine resembled a Corot.... What do we do to kill the time that goes on and on, asked Odile... In 9 minutes and 43 seconds, Arthur, Odile and Franz had broken the record set by Jimmy Johnson from San Francisco."
"This sequence illustrates Godard's obsession with timing in his creative process."
"Jean-Louis David's Coronation of Napoleon is impressively remounted in Technicolor in the 1950's Desiree, with an extra bonus of Marlon Brando as NB himself. (Also Merle Oberon as Josephine, and Jean Simmons as the title character and ex-fiancee of NB)
Andrzej Wajda's Danton (with Gerard Depardieu as the title character) features a David appearance, as Citizen Robespierre poses for him, and lots of Revolution era interiors."
"Feeling useless after retirement, Schmidt assumes the role of a martyr. I show a clip of the scene when Jack Nicholson is in the bathtub while writing a letter to Ndugu, the African child whom he is sponsoring. The scene has carefully been staged as an allusion to the Death of Marat, the oil painting of the martyred revolutionary, by Jacques-Louis David, 1793."
"Roman Polanski's Tess of the Durbervilles is a virtual textbook of late 18th/early 19th century paintings. There is an interesting reversal of Girodet's (?) Cupid and Psyche in the moonlit seduction scene."
"Peter Greenaway was justly mentioned several times as somebody deeply in touch with fine art. Inexplicably, the name Etienne-Louis Boullée never seems to come up in the submissions about The Belly of an Architect (1987), although it is a film about the fictional American architect Kracklite's (played by Brian Dennehy) obsession with that (real) 18th century French architect and the exhibition he conceived about him to be shown in Rome (not in Paris!). It perfectly illustrates how certain tendencies in architecture run through the ages, starting with the Pantheon (a big feast is held in front of it) and leading via Boullée to the Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II (inaugurated 1911; in the film it is the exhibition venue) and to Cracklite himself. Throughout the film, Greenaway juxtaposes the domes of the Pantheon and Boullée's projects with Cracklite's belly (which gives him excruciable pain) and the belly of his pregnant wife (which also gives him cause for pain in another sense). Cracklite ends up being completely disowned. The exhibition is taken over by his rival (showing a very fascist attitude) who already stole his wife and child whose conception in a train exactly on the border of France and Italy we witnessed at the beginning. In the end Cracklite jumps off the Vittoriano while his child is prematurely born inside it during the grand opening of the exhibition. A great film!
"James Lapine's film Impromptu (1991) brings French Romanticism to life with Judy Davis as George Sand, Hugh Grant as Frederic Chopin, and Ralph Brown as a randy Eugene Delacroix (who is shown painting quite a lot). Sets the stage in a lighthearted way for a discussion of romanticism."
"In the movie The Jazz Singer Jakie Rabinowitz (Al Jolson) comes home to his parents' house, a Lower East Side New York apartment, after a long absence to find that his photograph has been replaced on their wall by a framed engraving of Cole's Voyage of Life: Youth. This engraving (and interestingly Youth alone, out of the series of four pictures) was a best-seller in the mid 1800s, and would have been a common sight in many middle-class homes. Apparently the set designers in 1927 thought the engraving would still be the sort of thing one's middle-aged parents would own. It would probably not be worth showing the scene in a class, but certainly worth mentioning as an example of the painting's popular longevity."
"There are two Hollywood films that actually do a nice job of evoking specific works of art. One is the marvelous opening sequence of Moulin Rouge which evokes so many of Toulouse Lautrec's prints. The other is in a godawful Naked Maja about Goya, which does include a wonderful recreation of the Entierro de la Sardina."
"In response to Peter Walsh's remarks on the non-historical "cameo roles" played by works of art in movies: I agree that they're hardly accurate -- my own favorite example being the Mona Lisa, which Dr. No (in the Bond film of the same name) evidently keeps in his subterranean Jamaica hideout."
Martha Hollander, Hofstra University
"a correction to Martha Hollander's Dr. No reference. The stolen painting was not the Mona Lisa but Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington."
"The painting appearing in Dr. No is Goya's portrait of Arthur Wellesley -- first Duke of Wellington. It's inclusion in the film was a topical joke as, at the time the film was made, the painting was missing -- having been stolen from the National Gallery in London. The event was regarded as a national scandal and attracted much public interest.
In the scene where the painting appears, James Bond does a 'double take' as he walks past it, and to my recollection -- the audience of the time laughed.
The painting was subsequently recovered, suffering no lasting effects from the film's climax."
"I have been told that the opening of King and Country (directed by Joseph Losey) shows details of The Royal Artillery Monument by Charles Sergeant Jagger at Hyde Park (near Apsley House -- Wellington's House) in London"
"In the party/engagement scene in the McDowell house, just after Cleo McDowell (John Amos) finishes explaining bartending duties to Akeem (Eddie Murphy) the camera cuts to a painting in the living room, and then begins to zoom out to the party scene. The painting is an African-American representation of Edouard Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergere (1881-82). I found it to be an interesting point of reference for artists, especially students who are given an assignment to copy a master's work or create their own versions."
"The very beginning of the scene opens and fades from black to a painting hanging on the wall. The painting is a reference to Édouard Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère. In the movie the woman is black, and on the counter along with the still lives is a hamburger."
"The Wings of the Dove (1997) not only features Klimt's work, but John Everett Millais's 1852 painting Ophelia reproduced on a biscuit tin (a nice "High/Low" comparison: Klimt is shown in a proper exhibition space and the Millais has been appropriated by popular culture) given to the dying, consumptive Milly Theale as a gift by a thoughtless suitor. To underscore the quite humorous irony, when Milly holds up the tin to show her guests she is lying on a couch wearing a clinging white silk dress; she looks just like the painting."
"Henry Wallis's painting Chatterton (1855-6; British) plays a prominent role in the exploration of male homosexual desire and death in Richard Kwietniowski's film Love and Death on Long Island (1997). A mandarin, reclusive, closeted homosexual writer named Gilles D'Eath (I'm not kidding!) falls in love with a B-movie actor played by Jason Priestly and inextricably links his image with that of the dead Chatterton in Wallis's painting. There's a wonderful scene of Gilles in the Tate Gallery, where the painting resides, as well as some provocative ideas about the links between representation and desire."
"The film version of Wilkie Collins's 19th-century novel The Woman in White (1982) makes a huge faux pas in its use of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting Beata Beatrix (c. 1864-70, Tate Gallery). Collins published his book in 1860, Rossetti's wife Elizabeth Siddal (the subject of the painting) died in 1862,and the painting was begun around 1864. The film version uses the Rossetti painting and its reference to Siddal's death to underscore a major theme, but takes no notice of art historical reality. An example of the way art history and film are at odds with one another?"
"You already have a notation on The Avengers (1998). If you watch it be alert (and it's pretty hard to miss) the scene where a hot air balloon knocks Edward Baily's Nelson off its column while Mrs. Peel falls off and lands right next to Edwin Landseer's Lions. Frances Chantrey's George IV can be seen looming in the background much of the time."
"The French language movie Amelie has a number of art references throughout it. The most prominent is the reference to Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party which Amelie's neighbor continuously copies. Her neighbor is a shut in who idolizes the work of Renoir, and will paint nothing else but copies of the artist's work. Amelie (played by Audrey Tautou) sees herself in the painting Luncheon of the Boating Party represented by the girl drinking from a glass. The film itself is a work of art, but this would be a great movie for discussion in an art history class as well."
"Also, the evilness of "the Joker" in one of the recent Batman movies is expressed by a destructive rampage in a museum. He delights in destroying Impressionist works in particular. That could serve as an interesting point of discussion about cultural values, perhaps."
Charlotte Eyerman, Union College
"Some of the paintings vandalised by the Joker when he and his thugs trash the museum include Vermeer's Woman Weighing Pearls, Rembrandt's self portrait from 1669 from the National Gallery in London, Gainsborough's Blue Boy, the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, and Two Dancers on Stage by Degas."
"Vincente Minelli, a director who studied art history himself has many art references in his films. One that I've been recently studying is Gigi which has many references to the french Impressionist period, particularly Renoir, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec. Incidentally if anyone can help me identify the painting in the bar scenes it would be much appreciated, it's been bugging me for months. "