Editorial Feature

Can You Guess The Film From The Artwork?

See if you can figure out which Hollywood classic these 7 iconic artworks had a cameo in

It's not always celebrity superstars that make a splash on the silver screen – often iconic artworks can also play a leading part or a supporting role in your favorite movies. So in honor of this year's Oscars ceremony, see if you can work out which films these masterpieces appeared in.

The Venus of Willendorf

Clue: The Venus of Willendorf is a 29,500-year-old figurine that was unearthed in 1908 during restoration work in Austria. The mysterious statue is carved from a type of limestone not local to the area it was found, adding to its enigmatic backstory. It measures only 11cm tall, however when it is shown in an auction scene at the start of this action-packed sequel about a demonic beast-turned superhero, it has been scaled up to be a few meters tall.

Venus in her casket (From the collection of Natural History Museum Vienna)

Answer: Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Hercules and Lychas

Clue: This statue depicts the moment in Greek mythology where Hercules throws his servant Lichas into the sea, after Lichas brings Hercules a poisoned shirt. It appears in the background of a fight scene in this film about a former assassin, which also reunites two of the main actors from the Matrix trilogy for the first time. The part where Hercules and Lychas appears is set in a unnamed New York museum, but is in fact filmed in the Galleria Nazionale in Rome.

Ercole e Lica, by Antonio Canova, 1795 - 1815 (From the collection of La Galleria Nazionale)

Answer:John Wick: Chapter 2

The Starry Night

Clue: Van Gogh's The Starry Night, along with many other masterpieces, decorates the apartment walls of this film's main character, who is the last human left living in New York City after a man-made plague wipes out the population. The artwork normally resides at the Museum of Modern Art, presumably where it was taken from in the film in broad daylight, the only time the protagonist can risk being outside.

The Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh, 1889 (From the collection of MoMA The Museum of Modern Art)

Answer: I Am Legend

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte

Clue: In this scene from a cult 1980s movie, when the titular lead and his friends visit the Art Institute of Chicago on their illicit day off school, you can spy a number of art history masterpieces, by painters such as Mary Cassatt, Edward Hopper and Modigliani. However it's Seurat's A Sunday on La Grande Jatte that takes a starring role as one of the characters appears transfixed by the pointillism style of small dots.

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, by Georges Seurat, 1884-1886 (From the collection of The Art Institute of Chicago)

Answer: Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Portrait of the Artist's Mother

Clue: In a toe-curling part of this slapstick film, the nearly-silent eponymous character sneezes onto James McNeill Whistler's most famous painting and then accidentally rubs an inky handkerchief all over the face in an attempt to clean it up. The famous simpleton, played by Rowan Atkinson, hastily tries to rectify the damage by using paint thinner to clean it, inadvertently destroying the image and leaving him to come up with a creative plan to replace it.

Portrait of the Artist's Mother, by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, 1871 (From the collection of Musée d’Orsay, Paris)

Answer: Mr Bean

Banksy's Kissing Coppers

Clue: This dystopian story is set when civilization is on the brink of collapse after infertility threatens mankind with extinction, and as a preservation measure, all of the cultural treasures in the world are brought together for safe-keeping in the "Ark of the Arts". Banksy's Kissing Coppers has been removed from the wall of its Brighton Pub home for protection and brought to the repository, whose austere on-screen exterior is actually London's Battersea Power station.

Mural by Banksy (From the collection of Global Street Art Foundation)

Answer: Children of Men

Water Lilies

Clue: There are many versions of Claude Monet's Water Lilies – he painted around 250 in his lifetime – and one of them appeared in this story about two star-crossed lovers who meet on a doomed journey across the sea. This film was based on true events, but this painting's cameo, as well as the ones by Picasso and Degas classics, was artistic license and it wasn't actually involved in the true-life events.

Water Lilies, by Claude Monet, 1915 - 1926 (From the collection of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art)
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