Art Appreciation: Get the Most Out of Viewing Paintings

woman looking at abstract painting

A Lesson in Painting Appreciation

While it may feel like you need a degree to truly appreciate art, at FrameStore, we believe that art is for everyone. If you’ve ever felt that you don’t understand how to appreciate paintings or you want to ensure a more comprehensive museum experience, we can help you learn more about what to look for in the depths of each work. Don’t let elitism stop you from looking at art through the eyes of the artist. Explore our art appreciation overview for paintings for four tips that will change how you see art.

1. Actually Look at the Art

The first step of painting appreciation may seem obvious, but it can be deceptively difficult. You should do more than just glance at a piece before coming to a conclusion about it! Ask yourself some questions as you’re looking at the piece to ensure you’re taking it all in:

  • What medium does the artist use?
  • Is there a texture to the painting?
  • Is the painting organized or chaotic?
  • What colors has the artist used?
  • What size is the painting?

These questions can hint at the emotions an artist is trying to convey.

2. Identify the Artist

The next step of painting appreciation is to identify the artist. We like to look at a painting before influencing our perception with the name of the piece or the artist that created it. Now that you’ve had your chance to examine a piece without any preconceived notions, you can add to your own understanding of the piece by taking a look at the title and artist’s name. Just these two things will give you historical and thematic context for what you’re seeing.

3. Find Meaning

With some time to examine the piece and a little context from the title and artist, it’s time to find meaning within the painting. Part of painting appreciation is learning what the artist is trying to tell you. Everything from their choice of color to the main characters in the piece is a hint of the puzzle that is the artist’s story. 

What are the subjects of the piece? Does the piece make you happy, uncomfortable, sad? While the artist is trying to tell you something, answering these questions can help you draw your own conclusions about a piece and discover more layers and dimensions in their work.

4. Discover Your Preferences

gallery-style museum wall art display

Part of art appreciation for paintings is finding out which styles and techniques you prefer. Many museums are huge, and trying to examine every piece is daunting. You don’t have to look at everything! Instead, seek out the artwork that you actually like to enhance your painting appreciation experience.

Whether you’re looking for new museums to explore or you’re considering a work to hang in your own home, FrameStore is here to help. Explore our blog for art appreciation advice and visit our custom framing page to find out what we can do to elevate your home decor.

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