How to Appreciate Art: A Basic Guide

Did you know the value of the global art market was $64.12 billion in 2019? Art sales were at about 40 million transactions in 2019 with American having the largest share and Europe second to that.

Art can reference many things, paintings, sculpture, sketches, it’s all about perspective. Keep reading and we will walk you through a basic guide on how to appreciate art the right way.

How to Appreciate Art

We are going to guide you through understanding a piece of art and how to appreciate it the right way. Our tips will give you a new way to look at a piece of art and open your eyes to deeper meaning behind it.

Art is a beautiful thing that everyone can enjoy. We want you to be able to get the most out of the art you see.

1. Understand the Artist and Background

The first and very important thing to understand when you first look at art is the time period when it was made. Artists tend to create work around major historical moments.

If you can get context on the historical event that was the inspiration for the piece, you will be able to dive deeper into the artist’s perspective.

It’s also important to know that powerful people in history influenced artists and what they made. Art was used to promote political agendas or movements.

To understand the art is the first step to appreciating it. Going a step deeper is understanding the artist, their intentions, and the historical context.

2. Genre

Genre is how we classify music, books, and art. If you can figure out the genre of art, that’s another way to peel back a layer of understanding the piece.

The categories for paintings include portraiture, history, landscape, genre (painting scenes from ordinary life), or still life. You can use these genres as a way to classify a painting and again further understand the artist’s intention behind the piece.

You can check out beautiful examples of historic or landscape paintings done by John Ross Palmer.

3. Art Movements

Learning about the different art movements can also provide more context about the piece and the artist. The different art movements are:

  • Italian Renaissance: Rebirth of art, focused on balance, naturalism, and perspective
  • Baroque: Focused in on realism, rich colors, and extravagance
  • Realism: Scenes of ordinary life
  • Impressionism: Artists used vivid colors and tried to capture emotion and light of movement
  • Post-Impressionism: Artists resisted against natural representation of light and color
  • Cubism: Using shapes to build and break up art, creating abstract art
  • Surrealism: Challenge reality and used unconventional and unrealistic subject matters

You can see examples and familiarize with the different art movements. This will help you continue to further analyze the art and again give you a full understanding of the piece and context in which it was created.

Take It All In

Now that we’ve walked through how to appreciate art, you are ready to take it all in, and see what new insight you gather from pieces of art.

There is so much you can look at, from the time period, to the genre, to the art movement that can tell you about a piece of art and its story.

Start digging deeper into art or keep reading about the latest in movies, music, and tv here.

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