Enjoy paintings more by looking at the title of the painting later.
How do you look at a painting in an exhibition? If you are like most people, you will give the painting a cursory glance, search for the label on the wall, give the title a good read, return to the painting again. The second time you look at the painting, you will examine the painting closer and look at the painting longer.
While there is nothing wrong with this, we will enjoy paintings more, if we look at the title of the painting later, after we have given the painting a good look (not the cursory glance).
The title of a painting gives us useful information that helps us to understand the painting. While this information is definitely helpful in understand the painting, especially from the artist’s point of view, the title also sets up a barricade that prevents us from exploring the painting freely.
When we look at a painting without knowing the title, we are free to imagine. To imagine what the painting is about, what the painting is trying to say, what the painting makes us feel. This wondering makes us think deeper and connect more with the painting. This process makes us enjoy the painting more.
We take more time and use more effort in this way but we enjoy the painting more too.
The title of a painting is like a cheat sheet; it provides a shortcut to understanding the painting. As with all shortcuts in life, taking the longer route let us enjoy more scenery on the journey.
How to appreciate paintings? Enjoy paintings more by looking at the title of the painting later. Do not shortcut the process.