Film is, above all, a visual medium. For the first few decades of cinema history, filmmakers didn’t even have synchronized dialogue at their disposal. They had to tell stories and depict characters with images alone. Even with the addition of sound, directors, cinematographers, and art directors need to create strong images that will resonate with viewers. They are making motion pictures, after all. It is only fitting, then, that cinema has taken more than its share of cues from the world of purely visual art, specifically paintings. In a beautiful short film called Film Meets Art, Vugar Efendi juxtaposes some movie scenes with the paintings that inspired them. His purpose, he says, was to show the interdependence of two art forms. “Art inspires cinema, cinema inspires art,” he writes. “As lover of both, I just wanted to look into films that are inspired by famous paintings throughout history.“
The parallels are often stunning. Most fans of Terry Gilliam probably know that his film The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen deliberately cites Sandro Botticelli’s The Birth Of Venus. But did Quentin Tarantino fans catch the nod to Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy in Django Unchained? Like his mentor Robert Altman before him, Paul Thomas Anderson decided to work a parody of The Last Supper into a film, recreating the famed Leonardo Da Vinci mural in Inherent Vice. Screenwriter Joseph Stefano has cited the work of Edward Hopper as an influence on Psycho, and indeed Norman Bates’ spooky dwelling in the film is a dead ringer for Hopper’s House By The Railroad from 1925. At only two and a half minutes, Film Meets Art only scratches the surface of an extremely intriguing topic. Efendi says that a sequel is possible, however.