The National Gallery`s decision to allow visitors to use their camera phones to photograph the artwork (see article from the Independent) got me thinking again about the relationship that people have with art. Particularly, how they look at art when visiting a gallery.
Fascinated by this subject I have compiled a Pinterest site filled exclusively with such images (click on the link to visit the site).
How you look at art reveals something about your character. There are the `sprinters` who move through rooms with hardly a glance. The `deep thinkers` who sit for goodly passages of time in front of a favourite piece. The `exhibition devotees` who move dutifully through the rooms in the recommended sequence, looking at every single piece, in thrall of their headpieces. And then the `selective browsers` who ignore much stuff only to examine a particular piece in minute detail, bending forward so close to the canvas as to cause alarm with the museum staff.
Of course, what just about every artist is trying to achieve is that special moment when the viewer suspends their disbelief and looks at their work as if it is reality, or at least is sufficiently smitten with the work as to dive into the image as into a better, purer world. Accepting the fictional, the fabricated, as a kind of magical alter-universe.
These Pinterest images reflect this relationship.
Look at how the couple is so smitten by the hyper-reality of Chuck Close`s portrait that they are drawn into it as by a powerful magnet.
Smile at the ironic ones, such as this famous Norman Rockwell piece entitled `The Connoisseur`.
And think about ones which simply reflect the awe that people feel in front of a masterpiece, as with these bambinos below.
Next time you visit an art gallery, take the time not only to view the artwork, but to observe the other visitors. It can be quite revealing!