I don’t know if it would be the Production Designer or the Director of Photography or the Director himself, but someone is doing a lot of research from a lot of different sources before they make a film. These are only a couple of the things I have noticed recently.
When I work, I watch videos…or listen to them mainly. I occasionally look up at the screen, and that’s when I spotted these frames. Sherlock Holmes, the one with Robert Downey Jr….He’s in a garret and there is a scene of him sitting by the bed, no question…The Death of Chatterton by Henry Wallis from 1856! The window even has the same number of panes and a very similar handle.
What symbolism attaches, I really can’t figure out except that Chatterton was an unappreciated poet, as Holmes was under-appreciated for his skills? Probably more for just artistic reasons than anything else.
The other had a less obvious connection, but Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Donald Sutherland has the family sitting in the background while one of the sisters writes a letter. They are all illuminated by the fireplace light, a very chiaroscuro effect. Because of the dramatic lighting and shadows and also because of Donald Sutherland’s hair, immediately paintings by Wright of Derby came to mind. He would’ve been painting in the late 1700’s while Pride and Prejudice takes place a little later, at the turn of the century. Though the scene isn’t taken from either of Joseph Wright’s paintings here, I think you can see the similarities in lighting and composition.
Always fun to find the inspirations behind various images.