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The Best Movies About Real Artists

Updated June 14, 2019 911 votes 259 voters 11.3k views25 items

List RulesVote up the best biographical movies about painters, sculptors, and other types of visual artists.

On this list of the best artist biopics, you’ll find movies detailing the lives of painters, sculptors, visual artists, and a whole host of others spanning the centuries from the Renaissance to the present. Artists live such rich lives, full of volatile emotion and undeniable talent, making them perfect subjects for biographical films.


One of the best artist biopics of all time is
Frida, starring Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her husband, the artist Diego Rivera. Hayek was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, and she set the bar high for artist biopics. Also on this list, you will find the exceptional The Agony and the Ecstasy, starring the one and only Charlton Heston as Michelangelo during his painting of the Sistine Chapel.

Other essential artist biopics on the list include Basquiat, Pollock, and Vincent and Theo, a film about the mercurial Vincent Van Gogh and his loyal but volatile brother Theo. Vote up the best artist biopics below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

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  • 1
    Frida
    74
    25

    Frida

    Salma Hayek, Edward Norton

    Released2002

    Directed byJulie Taymor

    Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial
  • 2
    Big Eyes
    64
    27

    Big Eyes

    Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz

    Released2014

    Directed byTim Burton

    Big Eyes is a 2014 American biographical drama film directed by Tim Burton. Famous for drawing... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Basquiat
    45
    15

    Basquiat

    Jeffrey Wright, David Bowie

    Released1996

    Directed byJulian Schnabel

    Basquiat is a 1996 biopic/drama film directed by Julian Schnabel based on the life of American... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Pollock
    40
    15

    Pollock

    Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer

    Released2000

    Directed byEd Harris

    Pollock is a 2000 biography drama film written by Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith, Barbara... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    At Eternity's Gate
    32
    12

    At Eternity's Gate

    Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend

    Released2018

    Directed byJulian Schnabel

    At Eternity's Gate is a 2018 American drama film directed by Julian Schnabel. Vincent van Gogh... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Girl with a Pearl Earring
    41
    21

    Girl with a Pearl Earring

    Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth

    Released2003

    Directed byPeter Webber

    Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 2003 drama film directed by Peter Webber. The screenplay was... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Loving Vincent
    33
    14

    Loving Vincent

    Robert Gulaczyk, Douglas Booth

    Released2017

    Directed byDorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman

    Loving Vincent is a 2017 animated biographical drama film directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    The Agony and the Ecstasy
    27
    10

    The Agony and the Ecstasy

    Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison

    Released1965

    Directed byCarol Reed

    The Agony and the Ecstasy is a 1965 film directed by Carol Reed, starring Charlton Heston as... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Lust for Life
    31
    14

    Lust for Life

    Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn

    Released1956

    Directed byVincente Minnelli, George Cukor

    Lust for Life is a MGM biographical film about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh,... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Vincent & Theo
    24
    14

    Vincent & Theo

    Tim Roth, Paul Rhys

    Released1990

    Directed byRobert Altman

    Vincent & Theo is a 1990 biographical drama film directed by Robert Altman, starring Tim Roth... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Mr. Turner
    27
    18

    Mr. Turner

    Timothy Spall, Ruth Sheen

    Released2014

    Directed byMike Leigh

    Mr. Turner is a 2014 British, French and German biographical drama film, written and directed... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Surviving Picasso
    18
    9

    Surviving Picasso

    Julianne Moore, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1996

    Directed byJames Ivory

    Surviving Picasso is a 1996 Merchant Ivory film starring Anthony Hopkins as the famous painter... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Andrei Rublev
    17
    9

    Andrei Rublev

    Yuri Nikulin, Anatoly Solonitsyn

    Released1966

    Directed byAndrei Tarkovsky

    Andrei Rublev, also known as The Passion According to Andrei, is a 1966 Russian film directed... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    Modigliani
    19
    12

    Modigliani

    Andy Garcia, Eva Herzigová

    Released2004

    Directed byMick Davis

    Modigliani is a 2004 American-French-German-Italian drama biographical film written and... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Goya's Ghosts
    15
    7

    Goya's Ghosts

    Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem

    Released2006

    Directed byMiloš Forman

    Goya's Ghosts is a 2006 Spanish-American film, directed by Miloš Forman, and written by him... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Factory Girl
    14
    8

    Factory Girl

    Sienna Miller, Jimmy Fallon

    Released2006

    Directed byGeorge Hickenlooper

    Factory Girl is a 2006 American biographical film based on the life of 1960s underground film... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Edvard Munch
    12
    6

    Edvard Munch

    Susan Troldmyr, Hjordis Ulriksen

    Released1974

    Directed byPeter Watkins

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  • 18
    Van Gogh
    14
    9

    Van Gogh

    Jacques Dutronc, Elsa Zylberstein

    Released1991

    Directed byMaurice Pialat

    Van Gogh is a 1991 French film written and directed by Maurice Pialat. It stars Jacques... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Georgia O'Keeffe
    13
    10

    Georgia O'Keeffe

    Jeremy Irons, Joan Allen

    Released2009

    Directed byBob Balaban

    Georgia O'Keeffe is a 2009 American television biographical film, produced by City... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Séraphine
    12
    9

    Séraphine

    Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur

    Released2008

    Directed byMartin Provost

    Seraphine is a 2008 film directed by Martin Provost.
  • 21
    Klimt
    13
    12

    Klimt

    John Malkovich, Saffron Burrows

    Released2006

    Directed byRaúl Ruiz

    Klimt is a 2006 Austrian art-house biographical film about the life of the Austrian Symbolist... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Painted Fire
    8
    7

    Painted Fire

    Son Ye-jin, Choi Min-sik

    Released2002

    Directed byIm Kwon-taek

    Chi-hwa-seon or Chwi-hwa-seon, is a 2002 South Korean drama film directed by Im Kwon-taek... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Lautrec
    8
    7

    Lautrec

    Elsa Zylberstein, Claude Rich

    Released1998

    Directed byRoger Planchon

    Lautrec is a 1998 comedy, drama, biographical film written and directed by Roger Planchon.
  • 24
    Never Look Away
    4
    2

    Never Look Away

    Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch

    Released2018

    Directed byFlorian Henckel von Donnersmarck

    Never Look Away is a 2018 German drama film directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck,... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Oviri
    5
    9

    Oviri

    Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow

    Released1986

    Directed byHenning Carlsen

    Oviri is a film directed by Henning Carlsen released on September 5, 1986.