Recently, readers and friends have asked me on the rules of art appreciation. Basically, there is no right or wrong in appreciating art. This is what I usually do, (in this case, appreciating a painting).
1) Firstly, let go of any stubborn knowledge (or fear).
Empty your mind and let your soul be a sponge to communicate with the painting.
2) Secondly, communicate with the painting to find out its story.
During this time, I’ll study the subject’s facial expression, action or interaction (with his/her surrounding or with another person).
For e.g., among the 3 persons in this painting, the girl who gently raises her head and looks up to the sky catches my attention.
I study her face, and later on, her hands. I am guessing, is she opening the umbrella or is she closing it?
Then, I study the expressions and actions of the woman and the boy. As part of the painting, they are equally important. If there are 30 persons in a painting, I’ll still study each of them attentively to find out his/her story, and then piece each of them up like a jigsaw puzzle to find out the whole story.
3) Lastly, read the title.
This painting is titled “Ultime Gocce”, or translated as “The Last Drops”. Its title holds a wide meaning; it can mean the last drops of rain or sunshine, and both have a connection with umbrellas.
Hence, in this painting, there are 2 possible stories.
So, I return to my first point, which is to hold no specific knowledge and I’m free to embrace either one of the stories.
This is my simplified version of art appreciation. So, which story do you prefer?
Or, do you have another story? Feel free to share it with us!
Painting: Ultime Gocce, 1898
Artist: Andrea Tavernier
Note: Picture above is only part of the actual painting