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How to Read a Painting

https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/how-to-read-a-painting.html

lifehack.org

How to Read a Painting
Art is a great status symbol in modern society and because of that it can be quite intimidating to the casual viewer. For many the first impulse is to

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Art doesn't have to be intimidating

Art doesn't have to be intimidating

Art is not only a great source of pleasure in our lives but can also further enrich and deepen our understanding of the world around us.

Developing a casual understanding of art is not that...

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How to appreciate a painting through your senses

Art should appeal to you first through your senses. It should grab your eye in some way, such as its subject matter, its use of color, its realistic appearance, a visual joke, or a...

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Focus on what a painting says to you

Look for symbols in paintings - something that means something else. Often a painting will include obvious symbols. For instance, skulls were often included in portraits of the wealthy to remin...

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Consider the style of a painting

Style is the mark of the artist's individual creativity on the canvas.

  • Some artists follow established styles, while others want to be different and challenging...

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Art appeals to our emotions

A large part of the appeal of art is emotional - some artists want to evoke strong reactions such as awe, anger, disgust, etc.

Knowing that an artist may deliberately evoke...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Defining Art

Defining Art
  • Art does not have a universal definition, though it is generally believed that it is an intentional and conscious creation of something that requires imagination and skill.
  • It can ...

Defining Art Through History

  • From the 11th century until the end of the 17th century, the definition of art was anything that was done with expertise, with the result of knowledge and practice.
  • The Romantic period of the 18th century, beauty became the main criteria for defining good art. Nature, spirituality and free expression were sought after and well received.
  • The 19th Century started the Avant-garde art movement, with art becoming real, modern, futuristic and surreal. Whatever the definitions, the originality of art stands out as a time-tested measure, with new genres and manifestations like performance art, digital art, and electronic art.

Philosophy of Art

  • Art as Representation or Mimesis. Representation of art as an imitation or copying became the mainstream meaning of art in Greece. Plato first developed the idea of art as “mimesis,” which, in Greek, means copying or imitation. How immaculately it replicated the original subject became the measure of its value.
  • Art as Expression of Emotional content. Dramatic, sublime and heartfelt art becomes a way to express oneself during the Romantic movement , with audience response becoming key to the valuation of the content. The emotions that were felt when the art was witnessed became its barometer for success.
  • Art as Form. Formal qualities of art became influential in the 18th century, with the principles of art and design, like balance, rhythm, harmony and unity became as important as the content of the work of art.

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Describing wonder

Wonder is said to be a childish emotion. However, as adults, we experience it when gaping at something unexpectedly spectacular.

Adam Smith, an 18th-century moral philosopher, describes wond...

Bodily symptoms

The bodily symptoms of this strange appearance point to three dimensions:

  • Sensory: The marvelous things take hold of our senses - we stare and widen our eyes.
  • Cognitive: We are perplexed because we don't have a past experience to understand them. It leads to a suspension of breath, similar to when we are startled.
  • Spiritual: We look upwards in veneration, which makes our heart swell.

The scale of wonder

At the mild end of this emotion, we talk about things being marvelous. More intense emotions might be described as astonishing. The extreme of this experiences is met with expressions of awe.