The painting above appears in Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums. It’s only visible for a few seconds, but illustrates how a well-chosen bit of detail can elaborate a character. In this case, it’s an early sign that author Eli Cash — played by Owen Wilson — is beginning to dabble in ill-advised psychedelic adventurism…

The image made me laugh when I first saw it, but I thought little of it once the movie ended. By happy coincidence I stumbled on this page and learned that the original work is “Attack” by Mexico City artist Miguel Calderon.

::Paintings from The Royal Tenenbaums, series by Miguel Calderon

::Studio 360, with Kurt Andersen traces the path from Calderon’s original inspiration for the series and its subsequent ascent to cinematic glory. Listen (RealAudio — clip begins at 5:42 and ends at 10:54)

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