Art is made by and for people. Therefore, each work has its own meaning because the maker has incorporated his thoughts or emotions into it. Not everyone has the same train of thought and that makes interpreting art somewhat subjective. Practice makes perfect and this is also the case when analyzing works of art. Become a real art expert with these 4 tips from Transferart and amaze others with your knowledge!
#1 Do your research
Before you walk into an art gallery, make sure you already have a good amount of information about famous painters, the different painting styles and that you can recognise the art movements. Interpretation will be much easier if you have some theoretical knowledge. The best way to expand your wisdom is by reading books on art history or descriptions by art historians to learn more about the periods, symbols and trends.
#2 Define the category
The first step has been taken. You are standing in front of a beautiful work of art and can easily recognize the style and the artist. The next step is to determine the category of the work: autonomous or applied.
Autonomous works of art
Art, that has no direct fixed function, is called autonomous art. The intention of these works is to radiate openness, and the aesthetic character plays a major role here. Their function consists solely of viewing the work.
Applied works of art
Applied art is also referred to as ‘utilitarian art’, ‘crafts’ or ‘decorative art’. This includes works whose function is directly visible and to which a certain use is attached. Examples are:
– Interior design
– Industrial design
– Photography design
– Graphic design
– Fashion design
Artists engaged in applied art pay much attention to the combination of usability, comfort, and use of color. Below you see an example of Wouter Steel.
#3 It’s all in the details
Be sure to take plenty of time when you analyze a work of art. The longer you dwell on the work, the more details will appear that can help you with the interpretation. The curious viewer is often rewarded with deep meanings. This curiosity can arise because you find the work beautiful, but it can also be triggered by the enthusiasm of other viewers. Entering an art gallery together with colleagues or friends can lead to great conversations and new insights.
#4 Listen to a professional
Do you find it really difficult to look at art with an analytical eye? Then you can ask for guidance from a guide. An experienced guide can provide background information about the work and point out hidden details. In this way, you will learn a lot about art and this knowledge can be reused later on.
Below, we have listed some more questions you can ask yourself when looking at a work of art:
– When was the work created?
– What current events were taking place when the work was created?
– Who is the artist?
– What is the subject?
– What colours are prominent?
– What shapes are present?
– How would the work have been made?
– How long did the artist take to make the work?
– Is the style of the work realistic, abstract or something else?
– Has the artist made the work to scale?
– Does the work evoke certain feelings?
– Does the work take you back in time to certain events?
– How has your opinion of the work changed since you started looking at it?
You may not always have the time to go through all the questions above, but just spending a few minutes reflecting on a work can bring a lot of new insights. Reflecting on the choice of material, the style and the subject helps to keep yourself inspired and to facilitate the next interpretation.