How to understand works of art?
Do you often have a feeling of misunderstanding or even rejection at the sight of those multi-million dollar masterpieces that, it would seem, are not telling you anything? Bizarre, so different, but all the same in one thing – they do not touch you at the creative, spiritual level … Either the matter is in works that have gone out of fashion, or in ourselves. But why then artists, these impetuous, temperamental people do what they do, over and over again? How to understand them? How to understand what they left to us as a legacy?
This is what we will talk about in this article. Everything is phased. Let’s get started.
1) Find motivation. As elsewhere, we start with an impulse in your activity, no matter what kind. Perhaps your environment understands a couple of three paintings, and you cannot support the conversation at all. Why not?
2) Make a specific choice. If you want to understand a specific picture, read about the history of its creation, about the time in which the author of the work lived, and, of course, about himself.
* There is a long, arduous path to understanding art. You should not rush and clutch for all at once. Instead, try to be attentive, proactive and, if possible, admired. Surprised. Indeed, in many ways it is surprise that makes us feel something new, remember it and rework.
3) Only a systematic approach to whole art from the Paleolithic to the present day allows us to see and understand the logic of the process – what, why and where it grows from, what is connected and interconnected, and from here, what fits in, gets into this chain and what doesn’t is built in. For this, it is advisable not only to look, but also to read special literature. At least read the authors of the academic list of disciplines of art history. There are authors who suggest and educate this systematic approach to understanding.
*A systematic view allows you to see the interconnections and interdependencies: without Duchamp’s “Mona Lisa with a Mustache” and socialist realism, you cannot understand the meaning or value of what is happening now. Without Baroque, it is not clear what Malevich did. Without Rembrandt, in the context of the Baroque, it is not clear why and where did critical realism and impressionism come from. And then from it grew what became Modernism with all the consequences for society and art. Without antiquity it is not clear what the Renaissance is. Without mannerism and baroque, one cannot understand where in modernism surrealism, expressionism, and even the then, 17th century realism as a style … etc. until a universal and interconnected chain has been drawn up, from which NONE LINKS cannot be thrown out – this is what the art means.
4) Immerse yourself in harmony. Understand: “… among the enlightened part of humanity for centuries, there seems to be a general agreement that there is good art and that there is bad art.” (Clement Greenberg).
5) Last but not least, in no case be afraid to have your own opinion and to uphold it during a conversation. You just have to be sufficiently aware of one or another artistic “truth” – facts that, like everywhere else, may not have enough weight.