Art Appreciation 101

Active Looking: the Most Important Skill for Every Art Lover

In my opinion, active looking is the most important skill any art lover can possibly cultivate. Why? Because art is visual (obviously), you need to look at it closely and with attention in order to fully receive the information it offers you. All the meaning and significance of any artwork come from what is visible in it, so all the knowledge and detailed analysis in the world isn’t useful if you haven’t first taken the time to really observe in detail.

Fortunately, active looking isn’t very difficult to learn. Anyone with sight already has all the tools they need to be great at active looking. However, it does take some practice, because it’s a very different way of viewing the world that what most of us do in everyday life. And the good news is that you can practice on anything, not just artworks, and the skills you’ll gain can help you better appreciate everything from a painting to a sunset.

Learn about active looking and how you can practice it for yourself in my first-ever video, below. Soon, you’ll be able to learn even more art history and art appreciation skills on my brand-new YouTube channel. If you find this active looking exercise helpful, also consider joining an online course or downloading a guide through my online school to discover the next steps.

Learn to Enjoy Art More

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