Good artists copy. Great artists steal. The best artists are master thieves who orchestrate elaborate art heists à la The Thomas Crown Affair. Inspiration comes in many different forms, and a new video shows how some filmmakers may have had a eureka moment during production on their films while taking a stroll through The Met.
Film Meets Art consists of eight side-by-side comparisons of scenes from well-known films and the paintings that likely inspired them. U.K.-based filmmaker Vugar Efendi features a static shot of a painting on the left side, starting with Benjamin Haydon’s painting “Napoleon Bonaparte,” and juxtaposes it with a representative clip on the right side–in that instance, one from the film, The Duelist. This presentation reveals where the influence manifests, and which flourishes the director adds.
While the “Birth of Venus” scene in Terry Gilliams’s bonkers fantasia, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, is an unmistakable, direct reference to one of the most famous paintings of all time, other examples are far less obvious. For instance, the same aura of menace hangs over Edward Hopper’s House by the Railroad and the infamous Bates house from Psycho, but the two are not dead ringers for each other. Meanwhile, those unfamiliar with Alex Colville’s 1967 painting, Pacific, may be surprised to see how faithfully it lines up with one of De Niro’s scenes in Heat.
Many comments on the Vimeo page for this video point Efendi toward other examples he missed–it’s not the Internet if someone isn’t telling you you’re doing it wrong–which means that hopefully there will be further entries to this series.