Film director Wes Anderson’s latest release is a wonderfully playful middle European fantasy. Much to our delight, as well as being a work of art in itself, ‘The Grand Budapest’ centres on the fate of a “priceless” portrait of a young boy pensively clutching an apple and features a fantastic collection of art.
The film’s central painting, ‘Boy with Apple’, is described as a quintessential product of the Czech mannerist, Habsburg high Renaissance, Budapest neo-humanist style - in other words it is a finely constructed, quintessential Wes Anderson, piece of nonsense. The Guardian describes the painting as “a fiction within a fiction that pays a delicately knowing homage to the art history of old Europe.”
Mr Anderson has explained, “Our reference was kind of Flemish painters. And Hans Holbein; I don’t know if it’s the younger or the elder. I like Brueghel, and another one that’s maybe connected to this is a Bronzino at the Frick. We were trying to suggest that it wasn’t an Italian Renaissance painting. That it was more northern.”
As well as speculating over the art historical inspiration behind ‘Boy with Apple’, art fans will also enjoy spotting a watercolour of lesbian lovers by real-life Austrian genius Egon Schiele and a splendid collection of Gustav Klimt paintings in the hotel, including ‘Faggeto’ and ‘Allee in Park von Schloss Kammer’.