Let us now look at the paintings at the art gallery.
There is no right or wrong way to look at paintings but there are of course ways of looking at paintings that increases the appreciation of paintings.
The label on the wall beside the painting provides information on the painting such as the title of the painting, the artist who created the painting, the dimensions of the painting, the medium of the painting, the year the painting was completed, the price of the painting if the painting is available for sale, and sometimes a write-up of what the painting is about.
Most of us tend to look at this label before we look at the painting. We rely on the information on the label to help us understand the painting. Perhaps subconsciously we feel that it is easier to interpret the words on the label than the visual content in the painting.
While this is not wrong, let us try to look at the painting first before we look at the label. Looking at the painting first allows us to form our own thoughts and realize our own emotions of the painting, before we receive additional information from the label.
Looking at the label first robs us of this opportunity. The label may tell us too much about the painting, stopping us from imagining what the painting could have been. The label may steer our first impression of the painting too strongly, affecting our own opinions of the painting. The label prevents us from experiencing the painting first hand, causing us to be unduly influenced by second hand information from others.
How to appreciate paintings? Look at the painting first, before you look at the label on the wall at the art gallery.