Explore the paintings and artworks featured in Coca-Cola's new ad, "Masterpiece."
Exploring the Artistic Talents Showcased in Coca-Cola's Masterpiece Ad Campaign
Our blog does not cater to or write about the happenings in the world of consumer goods and brands, such as “Coca-Cola”. But sometimes exceptions have to be made, Coca cola’s brand new advert, Masterpiece is one such exception. We can't recall when we last saw an ad that created “magic” with its seamless storytelling while opening up the art world to a new generation of art lovers and collectors.
Coke described the ad as “ An ice-cold bottle of Coca‑Cola journeys from canvas to canvas—starting with Andy Warhol’s 1962 Coca‑Cola  and continuing to a refreshingly diverse and culturally rich mix of classic and contemporary paintings before ultimately landing in the hands of an art student in need of creative inspiration titled “Masterpiece”.
The story unfolds, with a group of students along with their art teacher, in an art museum. The assignment for the students is to make a copy of the masterpieces of their sheets, while the art teacher flits between the students to inspect their work. But one student is not inspired.
The painting, Divine Idyll by artist Aket, notices the bored student and reaches out to grab a Coke bottle from the Coca-Cola number 4, Warhol silkscreen. As the bottle gets passed from artwork to artwork, it keeps transforming to match each artwork's unique style. There's this one moment when the bottle falls into the river from the artwork, Drumbridge, and setting sun hill, Meguro, and the coke bottle transforms to match the setting of the artwork. Finally, the coke bottle reaches the Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl earring, who quickly opens the bottle and keeps it next to the bored art student. The art student suddenly notices the coke bottle and takes a refreshing sip from the bottle. Refreshed he quickly works on his sketch just in time as the art flits over to him to inspect his work.
Coca-Cola Masterpiece Ad
Conceptually simple, the ad has been brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed. The script, the creative storyboard, and the selection of eclectic artworks from old masters to cutting-edge contemporary art and emerging artists conspired to make the advert Masterpiece one of the most memorable and delightful ad films we have seen.
The artists behind the artworks featured in Coca Cola “Masterpiece” ad
The following 12 eclectic masterpiece artworks make an appearance in the short film in order of their appearance:
00:14 Divine Idyll - Aket, 2022
00:24 Large Coca-cola - Andy Warhol, 1962
00:30 The Shipwreck - Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1805
00:38 Emily Falling in Library - Vikram Kushwah, 2012
00:43 The Blow Dryer - Fatma Ramadan, 2021
00:45 Scream - Edvard Munch, 1895
00:48 You Can’t Curse Me - Wonder Buhle 2022
00:56 Bedroom in Arles - Vincent van Gogh, 1889
01:04 Artemision Bronze - Unknown (Greek), 460BC
01:11 Natural Encounters - Stefania Tejada, 2020
01:22 Drum Bridge and Setting Sun Hill - Hiroshige, 1857
01:29 Girl with a Pearl Earring - Johannes Vermeer, 1665
Divine Idyll by AKET (2022)
The first artwork to appear in the film is an oil painting on canvas titled, Divine Idyll by AKET (2022). The art Divine Idyll notices the bored art student in the group and reaches out to grab a bottle of Coke from Andy Warhol’s silkscreen painting, Coca-cola Number 4.
AKET (aka Aket Kubic) is a self-taught contemporary artist from France. Comic books and graffiti were his first influences. Since childhood, he signed his art pieces as by AKET. His style has evolved. He creates deconstructed portraits by multiplying elements and shapes of faces and emphasizing features and lines. His work is influenced by cubist painters such as Picasso and Condo.
Large Coca-cola - Andy Warhol, 1962
As AKET's Divine Idyll reaches out for a Coke bottle in the film, it is passed on between artworks as it makes its way toward the art student. Coca coal number 4, also known as Large Coca-Cola, is the second artwork to appear in the film.
In the 1960s, Pop art was all the rage and it became the go-to aesthetic movement of the time. One of the most iconic Pop art paintings of all time is Andy Warhol's Coca-Cola (4), which he finished in 1962. This piece was part of a larger collection of Coca-Cola-themed paintings that included Coca-Cola (3) and Green Coca-Cola Bottles, both created in the early to mid-1960s.
For Andy Warhol, the Coca-Cola bottle was the perfect subject. It was an everyday object that was mass-produced and ubiquitous. The symbolism of American capitalism associated with the Coca-Cola bottle was also provocative and fascinating to Warhol.
Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Hirsh, art patrons, snapped up Coca-Cola (4) almost immediately after it was completed. In 2010 it was acquired by the hedge fund manager, Stephen A. Cohen for USD 35 million at a Southeby auction.
AKET’s Divine Idyll grabs the coke bottle from Warhol’s silkscreen painting and throws it to the next artwork, JMW Turner’s Shipwreck.
The Shipwreck - Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1805
Joseph Mallord William Turner-The Shipwreck, 1805 (Image Credits: Wikipedia commons)
Composed by JMW Turner 1805, a British artist, The Shipwreck, an oil painting on canvas is a romantic painting of the recurrent theme of disaster in the sea, that demonstrates the primal forces of nature in all its destructive glory. Displayed in Tate, the painting is the third artwork that makes an appearance in the ad film
A sailor catches the bottle thrown by AKET’s Divine Idyll and throws it to the contemporary artwork Falling in the Library by Vikram Kushwah.
Emily Falling in Library - Vikram Kushwah, 2012
The fourth artwork to appear in the film is Falling in the Library by Vikram Kushwah.
Originally conceptualized as a series of meticulously staged images and short stories inspired by the romantic notions of childhood memories. The collection was widely appreciated and published including features in Vogue Italia (print & online) and has been exhibited at the Corso Como Gallery (Milan) as part of the "Best of Photo Vogue" exhibition. The stories are based on the childhood memories and recollections of seven creative people. Emily Beecham, a well-known British TV and film actress, was featured in the original work, hence the name, Emily falling in the Library.
Vikram Kushwah is a photographer from India who now lives in England. The National Portrait Gallery London has shortlisted him for the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize 2019, and he was the winner of Portrait of Britain in 2018 and 2019. (by the British Journal of Photography). Vikram moved to London in 2008 to pursue a PG diploma in photography at the London College of Communication before graduating with honors from the University for the Creative Arts, Rochester in 2010.
The girl from Emily falling in the Library catches the Coke bottle and passes it on to figures from The Blow Dryer by Egyptian emerging artist Fatima Ramadan.
The Blow Dryer - Fatma Ramadan, 2021
Another contemporary work, The Blow Dryer, by Egyptian emerging visual artist, Fatima Ramadan makes an appearance in the fifth place, as the story of the journey of the coke bottle
unfolds. The figures from the artwork Blow Dryer, catch the coke bottle from the girl in the falling Library and throws it to the figure from the Scream by Edvard Munch.
Scream - Edvard Munch, 1895
The Scream by Edvard Munch makes its appearance in the sixth place in the film as it catches the bottle from the figure in The Blow Dryer. The Scream is an iconic piece created by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch and is a haunting representation of the terror and anxiety felt by people as they faced the uncertainties of the modern era at the turn of the century.
The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1895 (Image Credits: Wikipedia commons)
Interestingly, The Scream was inspired by Munch's personal experience while walking with his friends in Norway. He witnessed a beautiful sunset but felt a deep sense of melancholy and anxiety as he gazed upon the city and fjord bathed in red light. Munch later wrote a poem describing his feelings during that moment.
The Scream comes in four different versions, two of which are oil paintings and two are pastels. Munch even created a lithograph stone from which prints were produced. Unfortunately, two of the original pieces were stolen and later recovered.
One of the pastel versions of The Scream was sold for an astounding $120 million in a Sotheby's auction. It's no wonder that this artwork has made such an impact on popular culture. The mask from the movie Scream was inspired by The Scream, and there's even an emoji that resembles the subject of the painting - the ???? Face screaming in Fear.
The Scream figure catches the coke bottle from the Blow Dryer figure and passes it on to the character from the contemporary artwork You cant Curse Me by contemporary emerging artist Wonder Buhle.
You Can’t Curse Me - Wonder Buhle 2022
You can’t curse me is an arresting work by African emerging artist Wonder Buhle Mbambo that makes an appearance in seventh place in the film as it catches the Coke bottle from the figure in Edvard Munch's The Scream.
He is a talented visual artist hailing from kwaNgcolosi in Kwazulu-Natal, near Durban, South Africa. Buhle Mbambo was born in 1989 and received his formal training in 2010 at the BAT Centre in Durban, where he participated in a visual arts residency. Mbambo further honed his skills by studying Fine Art at the Durban University of Technology's Velobala Apprenticeship Program, under the mentorship of Themba Shibase from 2011-2013. In recognition of his exceptional talent, Mbambo was awarded the Bremer Kunststipenium Art Grant in 2016.
The character from You cant Curse me by Wonder Buhle catches the Coca-Cola bottle, and at first, jumps out of the painting. Then thinking it will attract attention, changes his mind and jumps down within the walls and falls into the Bedroom in Arles by Vincent Van Gogh.
Bedroom in Arles - Vincent van Gogh, 1889
Vincent van Gogh, the 19th-century Dutch Post-Impressionist artist, created three paintings with a similar name, Bedroom in Arles (French: La Chambre à Arles) in 1889. These paintings depict van Gogh's bedroom located at 2, Place Lamartine in Arles, Bouches-du-Rhône, France. Also known as the Yellow House.
The bedroom in Arles Vincent van Gogh, 1889 (Image Credits: Wikipedia commons)
In the film Coca-Cola ad film, Masterpiece, the second version of the Van Gogh Bedroom in Arles makes an appearance in the eighth position, when the character from You cant curse me by Wondebhule falls into Vangoghs Bedroom in Arles. From the Bedroom in Arles, he throws the Coke bottle to Artemision Bronze.
An extremely difficult and very well-executed scene in the video and the creative team deserves kudos.
Artemision Bronze - Unknown (Greek), 460BC
The Coke bottle is thrown by the character from You cant curse me from Bedroom in Arles by Van Gogh and is caught by the Artemision Bronze. The oldest artwork in the Coke ad film Masterpiece appears in the ninth position.
Artemision Bronze 460 BC (Image Credits: Wikipedia commons)
The Artemision Bronze, also known as the God from the Sea, is a sculpture from ancient Greece that was discovered in the waters near Cape Artemision in northern Euboea, Greece. While most experts believe the bronze figure represents Zeus, the powerful god of thunder and king of the gods, some speculate it could depict Poseidon.
The Artemision Bronze catches the coke bottle from the character from You can’t curse me and throws it to Akima from Natural Encounters.
Natural Encounters - Stefania Tejada, 2020
The bottle is thrown toward Akima from Natural Encounters by Stefania Tejada, 2020. Stefania Tejada is a contemporary Colombian artist based in Paris.
About Natural Encounters artwork she wrote on her Instagram page, Natural Encounters was created in 2020, and it features one of my visions of Eve, the iconic woman from “The Book of Genesis” and her connection with the land. The woman is laying in the middle of a valley filled with palm trees from Armenia, where most of our Colombian coffee is cultivated. She also represents the women of the area.
The piece explores the power that exists when there is harmony between the beings, and the power of women when it comes to nurturing the earth. The abundance and richness a land can provide when it is treated with respect. It creates total freedom.
For this campaign, the woman comes to life thanks to a person that has inspired my work during the past year with her being. I could honestly say she is the personification of an Amazon. Her name is Akima.
Akima appears in the film in the tenth position in Natural Encounters as she races towards the Coke bottle thrown by Artmision Bronze. She jumps out of the painting and leaps towards the bottle, catches it throws it towards the next artwork.
Drum Bridge and Setting Sun Hill - Hiroshige, 1857
The Coke bottle thrown by Akima from Natural Encounters falls into the river flowing below the Drum Bridge from the Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill which is the eleventh artwork in the Coke advert film.
Hiroshige Drum bridge at Meguro and Sunset-Hill 1857, (Image Credits: Wikipedia commons)
Meguro Drum Bridge and Sunset Hill is a famous wooden block print created by Japanese artist Utagawa Hiroshige (Ando) in 1857, specialized in Ukiyo-e, a genre of Japanese art and a collaborative system of printing as part of his series, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo. The print features a stunning view of the Meguro River valley with the famous drum bridge as the centerpiece. Interestingly, the bridge is arched and made of stone, which was a rare sight in Edo due to the city's susceptibility to earthquakes. On the left side of the print, there is a steep slope called Gyoninzaka, which was named after a wandering ascetic who founded the Daienji temple on the hillside. Meguro Fudo, a shrine not visible in the print, is located along the main route to the valley. Today, the slope leading down from Meguro Station still exists, making it possible for visitors to experience the same breathtaking view depicted in the print over 150 years ago.
Fortunately, the coke bottle is rescued by the hand hanging in the adjacent artwork
Girl with a Pearl Earring - Johannes Vermeer, 1665
The hand that rescued the Coke bottle from sinking belonged to the artwork, Girl with a Pearl Earring, which is also the twelfth and the last artwork to appear in the Coke film “Masterpiece”. The Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of the most acclaimed and recognized works by Johannes Vermeer, a painter, and artist from the Dutch Golden Age. Although often mistaken for a portrait, it is a "tronie", a type of work that was common during this era and features exaggerated expressions and characteristics.
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, 1665 (Image Credits: Wikipedia commons)
The painting depicts an imaginary woman in a dark and intimate shallow setting, wearing an exotic blue and gold turban and prominent pearl earrings. She is captured in a fleeting moment as she turns her head towards the viewer.
Although the painting was well-known before this, it gained widespread fame after a blockbuster exhibition was held in 1995 at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It further gained popularity with the release of Tracy Chevalier's book "Girl with a Pearl Earring" in 1999, which was later adapted into an Oscar-nominated movie. The film featured Scarlett Johansson as the fictional character Griet and Colin Firth as Vermeer.
She retrieves the Coke bottle from the river in the Drum Bridge and Setting Sun Hill opens it, and serves the chilled coca cola to the boy. The boy wakes up from his reverie, notices the Coke bottle, and takes a long swig from it. Feeling refreshed and he sets to work on his sketch. By the time his art teacher comes to inspect his work, his sketch is ready!
Thus ends the epic journey of a coca cola bottle that from Andy Warhol’s Coca-Cola number 4 through various old masters and contemporary artworks, until it reaches Girl with the Pearl Earring who finally opens it and serves the beverage to the young art student looking for inspiration.
It is not overstating the facts to say, the Coca-Cola Masterpiece ad is one of the best Ads we have seen in recent times. From the selection of artworks (old master artworks and contemporary artworks) to concept development to flawless execution to superb production values, the ad truly lives up to its name “Masterpiece”.
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