How to Look at Art
A painting in a museum hangs there, inert, silent. As viewers approach it, they are confronted with something that looks like it is far away, separated by the glass of the frame. It seems to be made of paint and canvas but not really alive. Concept boards has new approach in working with artistic look in your storyboard for film.
How to Look at Art encourages readers to move beyond this initial impression and begin to engage with works of art. It teaches them how to look at art by providing simple strategies for finding meaning in a wide range of works from across the centuries – from Egyptian temples and Renaissance portraiture to contemporary photography and video installations – as well as basic techniques for visual analysis.
Most of us know how to look at art, but we don’t know how to talk about it. We all know what we like (or at least, we think we do), but not all of us can articulate why we like it. And that’s what this series is here to help with.
The next time you find yourself standing in front of a painting or sculpture, stop and take a moment to analyze what it is you’re looking at. If you get into the habit, your appreciation for art will develop tenfold and soon enough you’ll be able to impress anyone, even the most seasoned critics.
Most people appreciate the art displayed in galleries and museums, but often find it challenging to put into words how the art makes them feel. For example, how does a viewer know if a painting is well done or not? How can one tell what style of painting is being created? How can someone identify whether or not they are looking at a good work of art?
While these questions may seem difficult to answer, there are some basic principles that one should be aware of when viewing any work of art. By following these steps, viewers will improve their understanding and appreciation of the arts and be better informed when discussing art with others.
What is Art?
How do we judge it? How does a work of art relate to its viewer? The answers to these questions are far from simple. Art is one of the most profound expressions of human creativity and imagination.
An artist’s ideas and vision can be influenced by many factors, including society, politics, religion, the environment, and personal experience. When we look at a painting or sculpture, we see not just an image but also a reflection of the artist’s life and beliefs.
Artists are able to give form to their own creative impulses as well as respond to the world around them. Their work may express emotions, an idea, or reveal hidden truths. Artists often also use their work to question or explore social issues or political events through images and symbols.
In this way art can help us make sense of the world around us and our place in it. Artists use visual language like colour, shape, line and texture to create paintings, drawings and sculpture that communicate their thoughts and feelings about what they see around them.
How to Look at Art
When you’re in a museum or gallery, looking at art can be intimidating. There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to appreciate art, but there are some tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of the experience.
Before you go, do some research
Look up the exhibition in advance, or read the label next to the piece. This will give you some context for what you’re looking at.
Take your time with each piece and look closely at its colors and forms. See if you can figure out how it was made (oil paint, collage, acrylics, etc.). How large is it? What is its overall shape?
Think about your reaction
How does this artwork make you feel? Do you like it? Why or why not? Is it more interesting than other works you’ve seen before? How is it different?
The truth is that there is no correct way to look at art. It’s a very subjective experience, and different people will always walk away with different impressions. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your next visit to an art museum.