Here are a list of art movies and documentaries that I highly recommend you watch - click the titles to read more about the movie or doco on the IMDb website.
Artemisia 1997 - Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653) was one of the first well-known female painters. The movie tells the story of her youth, when she was guided and protected by her father, the painter Orazio Gentileschi. Her professional curiosity about the male anatomy, forbidden for her eyes, led her to the knowledge of sexual pleasure. But she was also well known because in 1612 she had to appear in a courtroom because her teacher, Agostino Tassi, was suspected of raping her. She tried to protect him, but was put in the thumb screws.
Art School Confidential 2006 - Starting from childhood attempts at illustration, the protagonist pursues his true obsession to art school. But as he learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt his vision to the reality that confronts him.
Basquiat 1996 - Basquiat tells the story of the meteoric rise of youthful artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Starting out as a street artist, living in Thompkins Square Park in a cardboard box, Jean-Michel is "discovered" by Andy Warhol's art world and becomes a star. But success has a high price, and Basquiat pays with friendship, love, and eventually, his life.
Before Night Falls 2000 - Episodic look at the life of Cuban poet and novelist, Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), from his childhood in Oriente province to his death in New York City. He joins Castro's rebels. By 1964, he is in Havana. He meets the wealthy Pepe, an early lover; a love-hate relationship lasts for years. Openly gay behavior is a way to spite the government. His writing and homosexuality get him into trouble: he spends two years in prison, writing letters for other inmates and smuggling out a novel. He befriends Lázaro Gomes Garriles, with whom he lives stateless and in poverty in Manhattan after leaving Cuba in the Mariel boat-lift. When asked why he writes, he replies cheerfully, "Revenge."
Camille Claudel 1988 - Biography of Camille Claudel. Sister of writer Paul Claudel, her enthusiasm impresses already-famous sculptor Auguste Rodin. He hires her as an assistant, but soon Camille begins to sculpt for herself and for Rodin. She also becomes his mistress. But after a while, she would like to get out of his shadow
Carrington 1995 - The story of the relationship between painter Dora Carrington and author Lytton Strachey in a World War One England of cottages and countryside. Although platonic due to Strachey's homosexuality, the relationship was nevertheless a deep and complicated one. When Carrington did develop a more physical relationship with soldier Ralph Partridge, Strachey was able to welcome him as a friend, although Partridge remained somewhat uneasy, not so much with Strachey's lifestyle and sexual orientation as with the fact that he was a conscientious objector.
Catfish 2010 - In late 2007, filmmakers Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost sensed a story unfolding as they began to film the life of Ariel's brother, Nev. They had no idea that their project would lead to the most exhilarating and unsettling months of their lives. A reality thriller that is a shocking product of our times, Catfish is a riveting story of love, deception and grace within a labyrinth of online intrigue.
Dirty Pictures 2000 - A Cincinnati museum director goes on trial in 1990 for exhibiting sadomasochistic photographs taken by Robert Mapplethorpe.
Exit Through The Gift Shop 2010 - The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains footage of Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and many of the world's most infamous graffiti artists at work.
Frida 2002 - A biography of artist Frida Kahlo, who channeled the pain of a crippling injury and her tempestuous marriage into her work.
FUR An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus 2006 - Turning her back on her wealthy, established family, Diane Arbus falls in love with Lionel Sweeney, an enigmatic mentor who introduces Arbus to the marginalized people who help her become one of the most revered photographers of the twentieth century.
Girl with a Pearl Earring 2003 - A young peasant maid working in the house of painter Johannes Vermeer becomes his talented assistant and the model for one of his most famous works.
Herb And Dorothy 2008 - Herb and Dorothy Vogel redefine what it means to be an art collector.
Klimt 2006 - A portrait of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt (John Malkovich) whose lavish, sexual paintings came to symbolize the art nouveau style of the late 19th and early 20th century.
Lust For Life 1956 - The life of brilliant but tortured artist Vincent van Gogh.
Mona Lisa Smile 2003 - A free-thinking art professor teaches conservative 50's Wellesley girls to question their traditional societal roles.
Midnight in Paris 2011 - A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.
My Brilliant Career 1979 - The heroine, Sybylla (Davis), a headstrong girl growing up in early 20th century Australia, has the opportunity of marriage to a wealthy young man (Harry played by Niel) whom she loves, but rejects it in order to maintain her independence, preferring to take a job as governess/housekeeper to the family of an illiterate neighbor to whom her father owes money.
Picasso: Magic, Sex and Death 2001 - John Richardson, Picasso's friend and biographer, tells the extraordinary story of the 20th century's greatest artist.
Pollock 2000 - A film about the life and career of the American painter, Jackson Pollock.
Rivers and Tides Andy Goldsworthy Documentary 2003 - Portrait of Andy Goldsworthy, an artist whose specialty is ephemeral sculptures made from elements of nature.
Seraphine 2008 - Based on the life of French painter Séraphine de Senlis.
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting 1997 TV series - The story of painting is one that is immensely rich in meaning, yet its value is all too often hidden from us by the complexities of its historians. We must forget the densities of 'history' and simply surrender to the wonder of the story." -Sister Wendy Beckett Internationally renowned art historian. Sister Wendy Beckett brings her knowledge, her deep love of art, and her luminous insights to The Story of Painting- making a difficult subject accessible and stimulating to all. The Story of Painting features more than 450 masterpieces - all faithfully reproduced in rich, full color - chronicling the developments and movements in the history of painting over the past 800 years, from Gothic to Renaissance, Romanticism to Impressionism, Post-Impressionism to Modernism. Each movement is introduced by visual timelines to provide an instant overview of the significant artists and paintings of the era.
Sister Wendy's American Collection 2001 TV series - In Sister Wendy's American Collection, the engaging art critic moves beyond the world of daVinci and Monet to explore the wider riches of six of America's greatest museums: Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, Forth Worth's Kimbell Art Museum, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Each one-hour episode focuses on one of the featured museums, showcasing its treasures from around the world.
Sketches of Frank Gehry 2005 - A look at the life and work of the renown architect.
The draughtsman's contract 1982 - Mr. Neville, a cocksure young artist is contracted by Mrs. Herbert, the wife of a wealthy landowner, to produce a set of twelve drawings of her husband's estate, a contract which extends much further than either the purse or the sketchpad. The sketches themselves prove of an even greater significance than supposed upon the discovery of the body of Mr. Herbert.
The Pillow Book 1996 - As a young girl in Japan, Nagiko's father paints characters on her face, and her aunt reads to her from "The Pillow Book", the diary of a 10th-century lady-in-waiting. Nagiko grows up, obsessed with books, papers, and writing on bodies, and her sexual odyssey (and the creation of her own Pillow Book) is a "parfait mélange" of classical Japanese, modern Chinese, and Western film images.
The Agony And The Ecstasy 1965 - The biographical story of Michelangelo's troubles while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II.
Vincent and Theo 1990 - The familiar tragic story of Vincent van Gogh is broadened by focusing as well on his brother Theodore, who helped support Vincent. The movie also provides a nice view of the locations which Vincent painted.
Age Of Consent 1969 - An elderly artist thinks he has become too stale and is past his prime. His friend (and agent) persuades him to go to an offshore island to try once more. On an island he re-discovers his muse in the form of a young girl.
Love Is The Devil 1998 - Biography of British painter Francis Bacon focuses on his relationship with his lover, George Dyer, a former small time crook.
Modigliani 2004 - The story of Amedeo Modigliani's bitter rivalry with Pablo Picasso, and his tragic romance with Jeanne Hebuterne.
Rembrandt 1936 - This character study joins the painter at the height of his fame in 1642, when his adored wife suddenly dies and his work takes a dark, sardonic turn that offends his patrons. By 1656, he is bankrupt but consoles himself with the company of pretty maid Hendrickje, whom he's unable to marry. Their relationship brings ostracism but also some measure of happiness. The final scenes find him in his last year, 1669, physically enfeebled but his spirit undimmed.