Art Appreciation 101

Why I Love Art (and You Will Too)

Here are eleven reasons to give art appreciation a try.

  1. Art can be beautiful. But it can also be not beautiful, if you’re more into that. Either way, it elevates the ordinary and unusual alike, bringing meaning to even the most mundane of subjects.
  2. Art makes you think. The most powerful works of art, not to mention the stories behind them, inspire deep and meaningful thoughts. They make you consider things you wouldn’t ordinarily.
  3. Art lets you see things in a different way. Look at four paintings of a flower to discover four different ways of seeing a flower. Artworks can make you aware of how many different ways there are to experience the same thing.
  4. Art creates emotions. Joy, fear, love, nostalgia, pride, and peace are just a few of the many emotions art can make you feel.
  5. Art conveys other people’s experiences. Walking in someone else’s shoes has nothing on looking at an artwork they created. It lets you see the world through other people’s eyes in a way few other things can. Enjoying a work of art can also make you feel connected to something bigger than you and introduces you to ideas and worldviews outside of your daily life.
  6. Art lets you time travel. Look at an old artwork, and it’s almost like journeying back to times long gone by. Artworks are tangible links with the past, and that past can be illuminated to those of us living today.
  7. Art helps you escape. Art isn’t always happy, but it’s often a good diversion from problems, stress, and daily life. Studies suggest that art viewing is good for our overall mental health.
  8. Art is subject to opinion. You might not agree with the textbooks, but your experience with artwork is your own and completely valid. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are almost always multiple level of meaning and many ways to interpret them.
  9. Art rewards you for paying attention, and it’s really not that hard. To uncover artwork’s secrets, look at it long and hard. Background information can help, but the most important thing to do is look. It’s that simple.
  10. Art has something for everyone. With so many different artists, styles, and subjects out there, there’s artwork to suit every person, mood, and situation.
  11. Art can’t judge you or get offended. You don’t have to worry about getting it wrong, looking dumb, or feeling awkward around an artwork you don’t like or understand, because art doesn’t know or care what you think of it. That makes it more accessible (in my opinion) than other cultural experiences where you might be afraid of standing out, doing the wrong thing, or being the only person who doesn’t get what’s going on.

You don’t need any special knowledge to enjoy the benefits of art viewing, but a little bit of information and a few simple skills can greatly enhance your experience. Join my Art Appreciation for Beginners online course to learn more.

Cover photo depicting tile decoration on the outside of a building in Pakistan, by Aa Dil via Pexels.

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