You went to an opening last night, visited your friend at her gallery the day before, and last week you did late night hours at the Guggenheim and the Met. It’s safe to say you need a night in to recover from all that art world socializing. But ArtBinder, you wail, I still need my Friday night culture fix! What’s a guy or gal to do?
Never fear, art lovers. We’ve got you covered with our list of the best art history movies out there. So make some popcorn, break out that adult onesie (we won’t tell), and get ready to spend the evening with Frida, Klimt, and Da Vinci.
- Frida – Salma Hayek is pitch perfect as Frida Kahlo in this 2002 biopic. The movie does justice to her epic life story as well as her art, and you’ll finish an even bigger Frida fan than you were before.
- Woman in Gold – A beautiful woman, a glamorous painting, Nazi art thieves, and a stubborn elderly woman vs. the entire country of Austria. The dramatic story of Gustav Klimt’s most famous painting is a new classic — bonus points if you catch the work in person at the Neue Gallery!
- Mona Lisa Smile – Julia Roberts stars as a badass art history professor pushing social boundaries during a time (read: the 50’s) when married college girls got to skip class and the mark of a good female education was an A+ in Home Ec. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll curse the patriarchy, and you’ll get to reminisce about your first art history survey course while doing it.
- The Thomas Crown Affair – Who doesn’t love a good heist movie? The Met has been robbed of a Monet, and the attractive detective suspects a billionaire playboy. You can probably guess what happens, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun watch.
- The Da Vinci Code – It may not be exactly highbrow, but there’s nothing like a good museum-murder-adventure story. Uncover mysteries and solve homicides, all while goggling at the ancient roman architecture whose dates you slaved over in school.
- Marie Antoinette – While not strictly an art history movie, there are some art history moments! Keep an eye out for the Vigée Le Brun portraits, not to mention the decorative art everywhere. A definite winner: Kirsten Dunst + elaborate costumes makes this movie one of our favorites.
So enjoy your cozy night, kiddos. Sweet dreams of art thieves and the French Revolution.