14 Iconic Art Movies You Need To Stream This Year (2022)

We’re all in when it comes tobringing art to life through film.

From period dramas exploring the lives of famous painters and exploratory documentaries to romance, comedy, horror and drama films set around artists and artworks–there are plenty of iconic art movies you can watch right now.

Here are all the art flicks to tick off your list.

Portrait Of A Lady On Fire

From French director Céline Sciamma, Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (or Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu) tells a story of forbidden love between the daughter of a wealthy family and the young artist commissioned to paint her portrait promised to a future husband. We love any premise of forbidden love in 18th Century France as much as you do–but this movie brings more depth than the expected formula. The deeply intimate film is scored only by the natural sounds of waves, crackling fire, and paint brushing against a coarse canvas (some deep ASMR going on for anyone interested). It turns out painting someone you're falling in love with can be both profoundly charming and tragic at the same time.

At Eternity's Gate

If you're a fan of Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh, this is the film for you. Led by an incredible (and Oscar-nominated) performance from Willem Dafoe, At Eternity's Gate follows the final years of Van Gogh's life as a mostly unappreciated artist living in France. Filmed up close and roughly, we watch the post-impressionist's gradual descent into madness as his world becomes blurrier. The film explores Van Gogh's eternal love of art, famed ear cutting, mysterious death and sole relationships with his brother Theo (Rupert Friend) and fellow painter Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac).

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Portrayed by the incredibly talented Salma Hayek, Frida follows the private and professional life of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo in Mexico City. Through her triumphs, she became one of the most talented and revered surrealist artists of the 20th century. Navigating through her political viewsand relationships with Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky, viewers are witness to the incredible hardships she suffered during her short life.

Midnight In Paris

When nostalgic novelist Gil wanders around the streets of Paris late at night for inspiration, he finds himself taken back through time and away from his fiancée to Paris' roaring 1920s. There, he meets a few historical figures and a life he aspires to. If Owen Wilson (in the most charmingly Owen Wilson performance ever) is Midnight In Paris' lead character, the incredible tapestry of Paris is his co-star. The city is even re-imagined as Van Gogh's Starry Night blues and yellows in the movie poster. After that, the behind-the-scenes time travel insight into artists like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse and Man Ray solidify this as an iconic art film.

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent is the world's first feature-length painting animation. It explores the suspicious death of Vincent Van Gogh through the fictional story of the protagonist, Armand. Tasked with delivering Van Gogh's last letter to his brother Theo, Armand discovers stories of the painter's life by speaking to those who knew him. The film brilliantly uses Van Gogh's art for background and people he painted as its characters, re-imagined as modern actors (Chris O'Dowd with a giant beard as postman Joseph Roulin is a standout). To create this effect, the animators painted 66,960 frames of oil artworks. It's really worth checking out the visual ingenuity and creativity used to build the animation of this film for yourself.

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Mr. Turner

From British director Mike Leigh, Mr. Turner explores the final 25 years of famed British painter JMW Turner. The biopic drama delves into the flaws and brilliance of the growling romantic painter and watercolourist. Timothy Spall turns in a mesmerising and nuanced lead performance as the unconventional Victorian painter. The film's visually gripping cinematography also makes this a very worthy watch.

The French Dispatch

Although he's never directly made a film about art up to now, you could argue Wes Anderson has purposefully painted visually spectacular and colourful movies in the past–think The Grand Budapest Hotel or Fantastic Mr Fox. But it's with The French Dispatch, Anderson's anthological love letter to The New Yorker set in the fictitious French town of Ennui-sur-Blasé, that the quirky and symmetrical director lands on this list. Specifically, with "The Concrete Masterpiece" story about a brilliant but unstable incarcerated painter (Benicio del Toro) and his prison guard muse (Léa Seydoux). The first act explores love and the commodification of art.

Art and Craft

For those of us who find the world of art alienating and highbrow in ways, there's something satisfying about a story of someone expertly duping it. Art and Craft is a documentary about Mark Landis, one of the world's most prolific art forgers. But instead of forging masterpieces for financial gain, Landis donates his fakes to museums and galleries. The engrossing film captures a real-life character and story that's truly stranger than fiction.

National Gallery

Don't immediately lose interest when we say this, but you should absolutely watch this three-hour documentary about London's National Gallery that uses no voice over, sound effects or music of any kind. First of all, it comes from the mind of seasoned documentarian Frederick Wiseman. The César Award for Best Documentary winning film takes us behind the scenes of one of the art world's most important institutions, redefining our understanding of a museum's inner workings and appreciation for art on a wall.


You probably weren't expecting a social slasher movie produced by modern master of suspense Jordan Peele on this list, and yet, here is Candyman. When a painter (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) begins investigating the legend of Candyman for artistic inspiration, he unknowingly brings the hook-handed killer back. But more than just horror, the Nia DaCosta directed spiritual sequel explores urban gentrification, police brutality and racial violence, with art playing a pivotal role in this storytelling. This is definitely the goriest, most frightening and most thought-provoking art-centric film you'll add to your watch list. Just don't say "Candyman" five times in the mirror..

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Saving Banksy

What happens when the very artworks intended to scathingly subvert and criticise the world of art collection, greed and capitalism become commodified and sold into that very system? That's whatSaving Banksyaims to explore. With insight fromartistic peers, the documentary follows art collectors attempting to save "Haight Street Rat", the workof notorious and anonymous British graffiti artist Banksy.

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Childshows never-before-seen footage of the famous artist twoyears before he passed away in 1988. The influential neo-expressionist painterand Andy Warhol collaborator collided with jazz and Manhattan'searly hip-hop culture ofthe 70s and 80s. With unprecedented insight, thefilm revolves around an interview between a 25-year-old Basquiat anddirector Tamra Davis, exploring the young painter's relationship with fame, acclaim and the art world.

Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present

This documentary follows contemporary artist Marina Abramović during her 2010 MoMA performance exhibitionThe Artist Is Present. In it,Abramović satsilently at a tableacross from an empty chair, inviting (and challenging) one and all to sit down across from her and lock into her gaze.Over 1,000 strangers sat down in a three-month period, evoking surprisingly emotional reactions and exploring an artists'complex relationship with audience.

Girl With A Pearl Earring

​Based onJohannes Vermeer's famous work,Girl with a Pearl Earringis a fictionalised account of the painting's creation. Set in the 1600s, the film follows Vermeer's (Colin Firth) relationship with his muse, a housemaid namedGriet (Scarlett Johansson). Hiding their friendship from Vermeer's wife, the pair are commissioned towork together to create one of history's most famous paintings.

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Inspired by these art films? Head here to find out where you can get yourself some art.

Image Credit: Neon


What movies are considered high art? ›

High Art Genre Movies
  • Stalker (1979) Not Rated | 162 min | Drama, Sci-Fi. ...
  • Bacurau (2019) Not Rated | 131 min | Adventure, Horror, Mystery. ...
  • Possession (1981) R | 124 min | Drama, Horror. ...
  • Solaris (1972) PG | 167 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi. ...
  • Blue Velvet (1986) ...
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) ...
  • Thirst (2009) ...
  • The Assassin (2015)

What should I watch to learn about art? ›

New Limited Edition by Loie Hollowell
  • Need To Know. Jenny Holzer on Art, Life & Everything In Between.
  • Ed Ruscha on Art, Life & Everything In Between.
  • Living With Art. The Female Gaze: Women Artists on the Male and Female Form.
  • Living With Art. ...
  • Living With Art. ...
  • Need To Know. ...
  • On Trend. ...
  • Living With Art.
12 Jul 2017

What is art cinema aesthetic? ›

At its most basic level, the term is typically used to denote feature-length narratives structured according to a specific set of aesthetic codes that position them in opposition to mainstream films.

Why movies are the best art form? ›

Movies are the highest art from because it takes writing, story, photography, drawing, painting, concept art, animation, visual effects, music, acting, and a whole host of other talents, skills, and abilities from talented individuals.

What is considered art house? ›

Art house is a film genre which encompasses films where the content and style – often artistic or experimental – adhere with as little compromise as possible to the filmmakers' personal artistic vision.

How can I watch art history? ›

Art History, a drama movie starring Josephine Decker, Kent Osborne, and Joe Swanberg is available to stream now. Watch it on Kanopy or Vimeo on your Roku device.

Does Netflix have art documentaries? ›

Abstract: The Art of Design is a Netflix original docu-series that takes a sort of “Chef's Table”-style approach to the everyday objects and structures in our lives—from the artist's perspective.

What TV shows are considered art? ›

Here, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite art-related series.
  • “Ways of Seeing” (1972)
  • “Sister Wendy's American Collection” (2001)
  • “Raiders of the Lost Art” (2014–2016)
  • “Fake Or Fortune” (2011–19)
  • “Civilisation” (1969)
  • “The Power of Art” (2006)
  • “Shock of the Nude” (2020)
  • “The Joy of Painting” (1983–94)
29 Apr 2020

What art programs are on TV? ›

13 artist TV shows, movies and documentaries to watch on YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more
  • Grayson's Art Club. ...
  • Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year 2020. ...
  • Francis Bacon: A Brush with Violence (2017) ...
  • Mr Turner (2014) ...
  • Maudie (2016) ...
  • Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (2018)

Is art film a genre? ›

Film scholar David Bordwell describes art cinema as "a film genre, with its own distinct conventions". Art film producers usually present their films at special theaters (repertory cinemas or, in the U.S., art-house cinemas) and at film festivals.

What is considered an art film? ›

Definition of art film

1 : a motion picture produced as an artistic or experimental venture. 2 : a film documentary depicting works of art or artists at work.

What makes a film an art? ›

Works that have such features to elicit aesthetic responses in us; they cause us to regard them in an aesthetic way. This suggests as answer to the title question: a film is art when it affords an aesthetic stance.

What is the highest art form? ›

Literature Remains The Highest Form Of Art.

Why is cinema called The 7th art? ›

Etymology. Calque of French septième art, which was coined by Italian film theoretician Ricciotto Canudo around 1921 considering filmmaking to be a new art combining the six previous arts of architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry, dance.

How many types of art do we have? ›

The seven different art forms are Painting, Sculpture, Literature, Architecture, Theater, Film, and Music.

Where do arthouse movies start? ›

7 Films to Introduce You to Arthouse Cinema
20 Nov 2020

What is the difference between art film and commercial film? ›

In an art film, music or romance comes as par the need of the story, whereas in commercial films, scenes of music, dance, comedy and romance are inserted to attract the common audience. The art film stresses reality, whereas a commercial film stresses popularity.

What was the first historical film made? ›

Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)

French artist and inventor Louis Le Prince did more to develop movies than almost anybody in the history of film.

What does the work of art show? ›

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist was an American reality competition show that aired on the cable television network Bravo, in which up-and-coming artists compete for a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and a cash prize of $100,000.

What is the history of art? ›

Art history – the study of art from across the world, and from the ancient to the present day – covers virtually every aspect of human history and experience. This is because it looks at works of art not just as objects, but as a way of understanding the world, and the societies in which they were created.

What does art show about history? ›

Understanding cultures

Visual art recounts stories of our past, it gives an account of past events. Art history allows us to look back and understand how our civilization evolved over the centuries. It is a way to know ourselves better.

What is Netflix moving art? ›

Underwater. Filmmaker Howard Hall presents this remarkable collection of short films shot in the depths of the ocean, revealing a world of serene beauty.

Where can I watch art 21? ›

Art in the Twenty-First Century airs on PBS in the U.S. Watch full episodes on Art21.org and through PBS streaming apps.

Where to watch Made you look a true story about fake art? ›

Available on CBC Gem

Knoedler & Co., established in 1846 was the most important and most powerful art gallery in America.

Is there a portrait artist of the year 2022? ›

Portrait Artist of the Year (Series 9) starts 5th October 2022.

Are movies and TV shows considered art? ›

The term "the arts" includes, but is not limited to, music (instrumental and vocal), dance, drama, folk art, creative writing, architecture and allied fields, painting, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts, industrial design, costume and fashion design, motion pictures, television, radio, film, video, tape ...

Are TV shows an art form? ›

But with all of these considerations in mind, television is still an art form, a medium. No one stops going to see movies just because some films aren't as good as “The Godfather,” yet plenty of the smartest, most art-loving people I know never watch a minute of television.

Whats happened to Sky Arts? ›

On 9 June 2015, at 6 am, Sky Arts 2 HD closed down. As of September 2020, Sky Arts is currently made up of the following channels: Sky Arts and Sky Arts HD (a simulcast).

How can I watch Sky Arts for free? ›

Sky Arts is now available to watch for free without a Sky or Now TV subscription. The channe dedicated to music, arts and culture has launched on Freeview and Freesat today.

What is considered an art film? ›

Definition of art film

1 : a motion picture produced as an artistic or experimental venture. 2 : a film documentary depicting works of art or artists at work.

What form of art do you consider to be the highest? ›

Literature Remains The Highest Form Of Art.

Why is cinema called The 7th art? ›

Etymology. Calque of French septième art, which was coined by Italian film theoretician Ricciotto Canudo around 1921 considering filmmaking to be a new art combining the six previous arts of architecture, sculpture, painting, music, poetry, dance.

Why is cinema considered an intellectual artwork? ›

Filmmkaing is considered as an art, because it dwells on your creativity, to put together a story. A story is the crucial part of any film. But it doesn't stop there. Framing, Editing, Sound Design, Background Score, etc.

Is Joker an art film? ›

Leaning on superb cinematography, thrilling musical score, great acting, and incredible story-telling, Joker has set a new standard for comic book film adaptations. Indeed, Joker is a work of art, but like most work of arts, it's not for everyone.

Is Pulp Fiction an art film? ›

A truly postmodern piece of film art, Pulp Fiction explored the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles through non-linear narrative strands featuring eccentric characters.

What is the difference between a normal movie and an art film? ›

In an art film, music or romance comes as par the need of the story, whereas in commercial films, scenes of music, dance, comedy and romance are inserted to attract the common audience. The art film stresses reality, whereas a commercial film stresses popularity.

What are the 7 types of painting? ›

Types of Painting Styles
  • Realism. Realism is a painting art style that aims to give the viewer a reflection of the real world. ...
  • Photorealism. You may also see photorealism referred to as hyperrealism or super-realism. ...
  • Expressionism. ...
  • Impressionism. ...
  • Abstract. ...
  • Surrealism. ...
  • Pop Art. ...
  • Oil.
22 Sept 2021

What is the 8th art? ›

Film is sometimes called the "eighth" and comics the "ninth art".

What is the 9th art? ›

The bande dessinée, often called simply BD, is not just popular, however. It is also widely accepted as a legitimate art—the “ninth art”, according to a term used since the 1960s.

What are the seven arts in order? ›

Seven arts may refer to: The traditional subdivision of the arts, being Architecture, Sculpture, Painting, Literature, Music, Performing, and Film.


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