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 this 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!