Maybe I’m reaching out to the wrong demographic, and this reference is a little dated, but some recent culture was Disney’s new animated musical Frozen. Like other Walt classics such as The Little Mermaid and The Emperor’s New Clothes, Frozen is based off a Hans Christian Andersen story. What a Charles. Frozen features all the Disney basics: strong female protagonists, personified snowmen, male villains , sisterly love, and yes, some serious culllllture in the form of fine art.
Elsa and Anna are the Princesses of the fictional kingdom Arendelle. Arendelle however is based off Norway’s port city Arendal. Although these Norwegians were likely not collectors of fine European art, the castle in the opening song “For the First Time in Forever” looks like the Louvre after Napoleon looted his conquered lands.
At 1:45 Anna dances into the main hall where we are first ushered into their fictional museum. She waltzes into the setting of these very real works.
First, she courtesies in a work likely by Pieter Breugel the Elder a flemish Renaissance painter. Anna then picnics in a French rococo landscape followed by her entering a Spanish dance scene painted by either Édouard Manet or John Singer Sargent. My favorite is when she falls into Jean-Honore Fragonard’s 1766 The Swing. Although I find this connection problematic because Frozen is supposedly a feminist flick and this work openly allows for male voyeurism with a peeping tom gazing up the swinger’s skirt…but I guess the Disney version left that bit out.
As young adults with greater knowledge of the world it is always exciting to revisit our childhood and discover all the inappropriate references in kids movies, like all the subtle phalluses. But there are also some serious high brow culture stuff in there too.