David Lynch is one of the industry’s most visual filmmakers, which makes his love for painting and art history a no-brainer. While he will often pull inspiration from other great directors — just look at the most recent episode of “Twin Peaks” and the way it evoked Kubrick and Malick — his biggest visual influences are works by iconic painters like surrealist René Magritte, realist Edward Hopper and figurative painter Francis Bacon.
A great new video essay from VoorDeFilm (via No Film School) puts some of Lynch’s most memorable images right next to the paintings that inspired them, and the similarities are uncanny. Each shot finds Lynch twisting the original artist’s style into his own, and the side-by-side comparisons speak greatly to what it is that makes Lynch’s cinematic style so unforgettable. He’ll take the surreal design of Magritte’s “Meditation” and make it feel grimier and more raw for “Eraserhead,” for instance.
Lynch is currently in the middle of the 18-episode “Twin Peaks” revival. Scenes from the first eight episodes are referenced in the video below, including Cooper’s entry into the box during the second installment. One thing is for sure: If you consider yourself a diehard Lynch fan, then it’s time to sign up for an art history class.
Watch the video essay below. “Twin Peaks” airs Sunday nights at 9pm on Showtime.