Visiting an art gallery and enjoying it

For a change I’m writing a little about something other than Sardax art, and an experience practically all of you art-lovers will have done at one time or other- visiting an art gallery.

Mona_Lisa_Louvre_crop
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mona_Lisa_Louvre.jpg

If you have been to the Louvre in Paris you may well have witnessed this scene – the great crush to view THAT painting. Are you one of those who have felt a sense of dread at a plan to visit a famous art gallery? You are not alone!

You’ll find it a bit odd but I actually dislike art galleries; some modern ones I won’t even enter but that’s another post. I’ve tried to work out why this is as I’ll happily read books on art or watch a TV documentary but the experience of being in a gallery just overwhelms me. Thankfully a book will only show you a page at a time and leave it for you to decide when you have finished one painting and wish to move on. Similarly a documentary on an artist will at least pause for a while on one work of art before progressing to others.
But a gallery will throw any number of artworks at you at once and your attention is drawn from one to another no matter how long you wish to stay on one that has caught your interest. Moreover there is the certain feeling that unless you have seen every work you will be missing out.

So I now stick to a rule. You might like to try it next time you are taken to a gallery, but be prepared for anyone accompanying you to storm off in protest.

Decide to look at only three paintings on your visit and concentrate on them. At least 10 minutes on each. Take in the work as the artist who made it concentrated on it, and try not to be drawn to others around it. Never mind the crowds that move in front of you – they will pass soon enough. It doesn’t matter that you will be missing out on many others – there will always be art you did not see anyhow.
Flitting from one painting to another for a glance of a second or two will not make any impression other than a sense of bleary-eyed visual indigestion, irritability and a determination never to go there again. But you will leave you with a sense of great satisfaction, and each of those three paintings will be memorable to you. You will be able to comment on them intelligently over coffee with your irritable partner. Try not to sound too smug about it though.

By the way for obvious reasons this strategy will not work with the Mona Lisa.. just take a selfie and forget it!

 

 

7 thoughts on “Visiting an art gallery and enjoying it

  1. Thank you for this post, you are so right. Always felt the same. The worst being these exhibitions where the organisers boast about how many pictures they have managed to gather together for the occasion, while at the same time devising the exhibits in such a way that people are forced by the pressure of the crowd to move from one picture to another within 3 to 5 secs, and are often prevented from going back to a previous room should they feel they want to have a second look at a picture. The fact is, after queueing for hours to get in, the public is reduced to an exasperated and tired serpentine procession moving slowly past the pictures in some dull abasement… by then, most just want to get out and be rid of the ordeal anyway. They’ve got in, they’ll be able to say they have seen the exhibition at next dinner… not that they’ll be able to say much more.

    It’s supermarkets for art, except that in a supermarket you can roam freely and contemplate a product as much as you want without having several persons breathing on your neck to make you feel that you have exceeded your alloted time for that picture. The only way to see pictures well, is to become a regular of a museum or an art gallery, and go there at those hours when you know there are not too many people, just to look at a couple of pictures as you say, and to look at them well – long enough. But who can afford such luxury?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree with you two. I strive to view art on “off days and times” because I loathe the mouth-breathing public as they shuffle by. Call me an art snob, but I want to drink in the painting in front of me. My favorite museums have seating where you can pause to enjoy grander works that can NOT be viewed adequately in a short period of time. I’m delighted that I’m not in the minority regarding my viewing preferences.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for your comment, Vinyl Queen. If ever you make it over the pond I’d love to drink in some paintings in London with you, and maybe a literal drink and chat afterwards.

    Like

  4. i was in a art gallery in Paris last autumn and was amazed and amused by the large numbers of people methodically imaging the pictures on their phone and then then the card describing that picture.Moving on to repeat the process barely glancing at the picture itself.

    Liked by 1 person

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