Art appreciation – a rich and rewarding experience
I DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ART BUT DO I KNOW WHAT I LIKE?
Maybe you’ve gone to an art gallery or museum, looked at the works of art on display and said to yourself, “What the hell is that? I can’t understand it! Why is this here in a gallery?”
Or maybe you’ve been to an art gallery or museum and your reactions were, “Wow! Great stuff! I like this! I don’t know why, but yeah!”
Or maybe you’ve gone to an art gallery or museum, and after viewing the exhibits, you walk away feeling bored and disinterested. You may have said to yourself, “Why do I bother looking at art? I never understand it. It’s beyond me.”
Like any other discipline, art requires the viewer to know the information it presents. Sometimes we think that we should understand art automatically. After all, there it is, just hanging on the wall and all we have to do, we think, is just look at it. But do we really SEE it? Often our response may be: “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”
That’s just another way of saying, “What I really like is based on my ignorance.”
The more you know, the more you can enjoy
That you like a certain work of art is a pleasure. You have communicated with visual phenomena and you really enjoyed the experience. It can be a very enriching and rewarding experience to know how and why an art form developed or to have some insight into how and why an artist works in a particular way. Your perspective is most likely quite limited if you have never studied art or know how it has developed not only in our Western culture but around the world.
What if you could learn about the many art forms that have been produced since mankind began and how it developed over time to the present day? What would this type of study mean to you? It would mean that, equipped with that knowledge, he could enjoy much more art! This is why.
The more you know about art and its development, the more you can enjoy looking at art! You will see much more and understand the context, content, and style of the art form. And this is the foundation of art appreciation: a study of how to expand your knowledge of the art world, past, present and future and, with that perspective, be able to communicate with the rich visual / creative world!
HOW TO START
So how do you start to gain knowledge of this vast world of art? Where do you start?
Start by dipping your toe into Art History. With a basic understanding of Art History 101, you will be able to see how art as we know it was not really a term until the science of Art History developed in our Western culture. And, when it was developed, as you can read in many art history books in the library, art existed since humans were able to take a stick, a brush, or a chisel and record their lives and experiences.
There are several ways to learn to appreciate art:
ONE: Learn about the basics of art history. How art developed, from the Lascaux cave paintings to modern art today. The oldest art history books deal mainly with artistic development in Western culture. The most recent books add developments in Asia, China, Russia, and the Middle East. The study of Art History, over time, has become global. By learning the timelines and factors that produce new perspectives and styles in art, you will not only gain a new historical perspective, but also gain insight into the various art forms produced over the past centuries.
TWO – Pick a certain period or style in art history and learn about it. You may be interested in impressionism. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to know the difference between Op Art and Pop Art. By studying the cultural impact of a certain style over a specific period in time, you can understand why that particular art form developed and appreciate the work of art in a broader context.
THREE – Take a tour of your local art museum. Museums offer a wide variety of educational art programs and tours of their exhibits. Or travel and see real art in your environment. There are many websites on the Internet that list global art tours and trips, often by geographic location or specific art and architectural styles. On-site art tours offer a unique and interesting way to travel and can give you an intimate and personalized perspective on the historical art and culture of the area. Tour groups are generally small and run by very knowledgeable guides who will be happy to answer all your questions and comments.
FOUR-Visit your local art galleries frequently. Galleries support their artists and gallery owners and attendees are often quite pleased with their interest in their exhibits. They will be happy to give you information about the artists, such as if they are local, where they have shown their work, what awards they have won, and who has bought their artwork. Stay informed of present and future exhibitions. This hands-on approach connects you closely with affordable art that is available where you live and is often created by artists who live in or near your area.
DISCOVER A RICH VISUAL WORLD
Art appreciation is as big or small a study as you want to do. Whether you want it to be an occasional outing or serious study, whichever you choose, learning how art forms have historically developed and understanding what’s on the walls of your local gallery will definitely change your perspective.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to talk about a painting on a gallery wall, instead of shrugging and muttering, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like”?
Think about it. Perhaps your answer would be more like: “I like the way this artist uses color in an expressionist style. The brushwork is so vigorous! There is a lot of energy in the composition. Also, using thick paint produces an interesting texture. “
Through art appreciation, you can discover a rich visual / creative world that will inspire you and invite you to learn more.