Movie posters for Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Velvet Buzzsaw, My Left Foot, and Woman in Gold

Visiting a museum is an educational, interactive way to engage with art—but there are so many other ways to indulge your curiosity and expand your artistic horizons that don’t require you to even leave home (a particularly meaningful win right now!). Books, podcasts, and even movies and TV shows can give art lovers a window into the history and cultural significance of their favorite artists. Sure, Portrait of a Lady on Fire and The Danish Girl are movies, but they still offer valuable insight into the inner life and challenges of artists. And while observing a work of art on your screen isn’t quite the same as viewing it in person, you may find that educational shows like Museum Secrets give you an even deeper look at the history surrounding the work.

Thanks to the multitude of streaming platforms now available, you can watch many of these titles from the comfort of your home, instantly. We rounded up some of the most educational, entertaining, and thought-provoking shows and movies about art that are currently streaming on platforms you may already subscribe to.

Settle in, stay home, and enjoy!


Portrait of a Lady on Fire

This critically-acclaimed film explores the relationship between artist Marianne and her subject, Heloise, in 18th-century France. Marianne has been hired to paint Heloise’s wedding portrait without Heloise’s knowledge. As Marianne befriends her subject by day and paints her by night, the relationship between them becomes more intimate, as the portrait is slowly completed. It’s not just the plot that’s a meditation on portraiture and the relationship between an artist and her subject—the cinematography, lighting, and makeup were also inspired by portraits by female painters of the era.

Streaming on: Hulu


Frida Kahlo is one of Mexico’s most celebrated artists, instantly recognizable due to her striking self-portraits and vibrant, colorful artistic style. This Oscar-winning biopic delves into the artist’s fascinating life, from the traumatic bus accident that left her in chronic pain to her tumultuous relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera (and other affairs with both men and women) to her quest for a solo art exhibition. Salma Hayek stars in this film that beautifully highlights Kahlo’s stunning work.

Streaming on: Netflix

Woman in Gold

When Nazis seized power in Austria during World War II, they also seized the possessions of many Austrian citizens. One such stolen possession included a portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer painted by Gustav Klimt, which belonged to Bloch-Bauer’s family. Helen Mirren plays Bloch-Bauer’s niece, Maria Altmann, who sets out on a legal battle against the Austrian government to reclaim the painting and bring it home.

Streaming on: Amazon

My Left Foot

Daniel Day-Lewis won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Christy Brown, a real-life painter and writer who, due to cerebral palsy, was only able to move his left foot. The film chronicles his childhood in a working-class Irish family, his mother’s fight for the world to see what he was capable of, and his success as an artist.

Streaming on: HBO


Art School Confidential

If you’ve been to art school, or just wondered what the experience would be like, check out this dark comedy/satire, set at Strathmore College in New York City. Jerome, a freshman drawing major, must navigate rivalries and jealousy between students as he fights to win the “best student” award and pursues Audrey, a life-drawing model. Art-world-dynamics are on full display, including the professor (played by John Malkovich) who’s desperate to get into a show, a fading old artist (played by Jim Broadbent) who serves as a warning of a possible future, and the often-inscrutable public opinions about which art is “better” than others.

Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Mi Obra Maestra

If you prefer your art with a dose of comedy, consider this Argentinian film in which an art dealer collaborates with his friend, a burned-out artist, to create a “masterpiece” for a corporate client. Hijinks ensue as the two navigate the art world and the relationship between gallerists, artists, and buyers.

Streaming on: Netflix


Velvet Buzzsaw

Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this blend of horror, satire, and art. An artist is found dead, alongside the ashes of several of his paintings. Was he trying to destroy them? It becomes clear that there is more to the artist’s paintings than meets the eye as the people attempting to purchase or sell his remaining works meet their own gruesome deaths.

Streaming on: Netflix


Museum Secrets

Visit some of the world’s best museums, and learn the stories behind their most iconic exhibits and about the research and technology used to investigate these mysterious artifacts. Featured museums include the Louvre, Moscow’s State Historical Museum, and the Palacio Real in Madrid, among others.

Streaming on: Amazon Prime

Kusama: Infinity

Yayoi Kusama’s bold style and affection for incorporating spotted patterns and flashing LED lights into her work has earned her the affectionate nickname “the princess of polka dots.” The 91-year-old artist created Infinity Mirror Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, which has been on display at The Broad since 2013 and is just one of more than 20 Infinity Mirror Rooms she’s installed around the world since 1965. Delve into Kusama’s fascinating life, including her childhood in Japan during World War II, her experience with mental illness, paintings and performances she made in protest of the Vietnam War, and the sexism and racism she encountered within the art establishment.

Streaming on: Hulu

The Radiant Child

Jean-Michel Basquiat got his start in 1976 spray-painting in Manhattan with his friend, Al Diaz, under the pseudonym SAMO; by 1980, his work was being featured in exhibitions and by the middle of the decade his paintings would sell for millions of dollars. His work came to be considered part of the New Expressionist movement, combining free and intense brush strokes, vivid colors, and distortion, as well as commentary and themes inspired by his Puerto Rican and Haitian heritage. He was also a frequent collaborator of Andy Warhol. Check out this documentary to learn more about Basquiat’s rise to fame and his untimely death at age 27, as well as the legacy he left behind. (You can also watch the narrative film based on his life on Amazon. It stars Jeffrey Wright as Basquiat, and includes David Bowie as Andy Warhol).

Streaming on: YouTube

Banksy Does New York

In October 2013, the secretive street artist known as Bansky embarked on a month-long New York City “residency.” Each day he posted a new artwork in an undisclosed public location. This documentary captures the scavenger hunt that followed, using YouTube videos, Instagram posts, and other documentation from New Yorkers who attempted to find each of Banksy’s projects.

Streaming on: Amazon

The Price of Everything

Contemporary artists including Jeff Koons and Njideka Akunyili Crosby are featured in this documentary, which delves into the world of collectors, dealers, auctioneers, and artists to reveal how consumerism influences the price of art and the artistic process.

Streaming on: Hulu

Abstract: The Art of Design

If you’ve ever looked at a piece of clothing, a beautifully designed home, or a corporate logo and wondered, “How in the world did someone come up with that?” check out this documentary series to discover some answers. Each episode features a different designer and examines their artistic process from start to finish. Subjects include Air Jordans footwear designer Tinker Hatfield, “Black Panther” costume designer Ruth Carter, and typeface designer Jonathan Hoefler, who has worked with Apple and on Barack Obama’s “Change” campaign.

Streaming on: Netflix

Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski

Leonardo DiCaprio and his father produced this documentary about Polish artist Stanislaw Szukalski. He was declared one of the greatest living artists in Poland before the outbreak of World War II, but faded into obscurity after he immigrated to the United States. Comic collector Glenn Bray, one of Szukalski’s only friends, explores Szukalski’s life, art, bizarre conspiracy theories (Szukalski subscribed to a theory called Zermatism, which maintains that humans are under the control of a race of human-yeti hybrids), and influence.

Streaming on: Netflix

Black Is the Color: A History of African American Art

For a comprehensive look at important moments in the history of African American art, check out this documentary, which features such artists as Edmonia Lewis, Whitfield Lovell, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. The film also discusses the context in which the artists lived, including the social and political oppression they faced and continue to face today.

Streaming on: Amazon Prime Video

Exhibition On Screen: History’s Greatest Painters

Brush up on your art history with this informative series, which highlights some of the most iconic artists and paintings in the world. Go deep into the lives and works of artists like Francisco Goya, Vincent Van Gogh, and the Impressionists.

Streaming on: Amazon Prime