These are not just pictures on a wall. These are not some set pieces in the corner. There are certain artworks in film that are as vital as its characters. Of course, it helps when a character happens to bludgeon someone to death with a certain rude-shaped sculpture or a painting casts an evil spell of eternal youth on a heartless protagonist. Whether it’s famous artists creating work for fictional ones or directors commissioning well-crafted fakes to take the place of what they can’t acquire, most of these memorable artworks come with a little background story. Here are ten (mostly) great films and the tales of origin behind their most central art pieces.
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
In the late 1960s, Stanley Kubrick wandered into St. Catherine’s Dock complex near the Tower Bridge in London, one of the vacant buildings scheduled to be demolished, re-purposed as an art studio complex. There, Kubrick lucked into renting several soft porn mag-inspired paintings from Cornelis Makkink which gave the film that stylized smutty sheen and Herman Makkink’s subversive kinetic sculpture Rocking Machine which became a fatal tool for one the most metaphorically phallic acts of “ultraviolence” ever committed to celluloid.