Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
When an artist creates a painting, she is sharing her understanding of another person’s feelings. The painting is a description of what she felt about the person/situation she saw.
When we look at the painting, we are not only understanding and sharing the artist’s feelings, we are also understanding and sharing the feelings of the person/situation that was painted.
When we discuss the painting with another person, we are understanding and sharing his feelings of the painting.
Paintings are a wellspring of empathy. They evoke feelings in the creator and the admirers. They elicit understanding and sharing in the feelings of everyone who has connected to the painting in one way or another.
How to appreciate paintings? When we are appreciating paintings, we are learning valuable lessons from paintings too.