Kubrick presented Lolita, the movie based on the homonymous novel by Vladimir Nabokov, as an extremely evocative means of iconographic as well as psychological investigation.
A Salome dancing for John the Baptist, a new nymph, a child goddess who becomes a symbol of seduction: this is what Lolita is to Dr. Humbert Humbert. However, the American director did not forget to mention the man who, before him, had investigated this intoxicating figure on canvas – Polish-French artist Balthasar Kłossowski de Rola, better known as Balthus, who, with his eccentric, refined and shameless paintings, told of young, seductive, captivating women who preserve their innocence. Erotic and scandalous – two essential characteristics from which the director took inspiration.
There is also Greenaway, a more niche but certainly not less cultured director, almost a contemporary Caravaggio of cinema: the postures, colors, shadows and lights are studied in such a precise way as to remind of the paintings of Paolo Veronese, but also of the Flemish art of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which is clearly recalled by the scenographic rooms and the use of mirrors. With his landscapes, he referenced paintings from the 1800s, and he even masterfully reinterpreted Leonardo’s Last Supper – a vision, a meticulous investigation of one of the most famous frescoes in the world. The details are explored with a rhythmic and regular crescendo through the use of lights and shadows, a symphony of images that appear and disappear to arouse amazement and curiosity.