How to truly appreciate a piece of art

Art is wonderful because it enlightens your mind, sparks new conversations, supports your emotional intelligence, and lets you explore your creativity. All of these benefits are excellent, but perhaps you’re new to the scene and unsure of how to appreciate art in its fullest form.
Man staring at red wall with framed paintings in museum

Firstly, this is completely normal; every art collector or enthusiast started in the same position once. You just need a little help to steer you in the right direction. That’s why we’ve written this article: to help you learn more about art and how to recognise a work of art.

The different ways to understand and appreciate all art forms

It’s essential that you not only look at a piece of artwork but think about it, too. This approach applies to whichever style you are going to view and analyse or have taken an interest in. There are different ways for you to approach your understanding of art, to get the most out of viewing it.

If you want to take further steps to truly see the value in art, these helpful tips are precisely what you need…

Visit an art museum

The arched exterior of the Victoria and Albert museum

To truly appreciate art, it’s a good idea to venture to a museum, so you can see the wonders of varying pieces and find your favourite style.

Seeing art physically in front of you provides a whole new experience because you can enjoy the impact of seeing a piece in real life, compare different styles, and read about the context of how a piece of artwork came to life. You can also uncover the history behind who produced the pieces, which will give context to any poster, illustration, or print featured on the museum’s walls.

There are plenty of incredible art museums dotted across the UK and beyond, including the likes of the V&A museum and the Tate museum. You could also purchase tickets to an exhibition that takes your interest, as most art museums will offer this option to showcase new artists or new collections. Doing this helps you dive into an artist’s mindset and focus on one style of art, which you can then easily come to grips with.  

Analyse and ask questions

If you’re new to the art scene, we’d recommend you analyse the art in front of you by asking questions. Studying art is down to your own interpretation, but themes that the artist has intended will be more obvious to some than others. That’s why it’s important that you really analyse a piece and ask yourself as many questions as possible, to get a true understanding of what the artwork portrays.

Ask yourself the following questions to appreciate the value of art in full:

  • Which artist created the piece?
  • What is the subject matter?
  • When was the art produced, and in which time period?
  • Does the time period hold any relevance to the artwork?
  • Where is the piece of art located?
  • Does the location relate to the artwork?
  • What shapes appear in the piece?
  • What style of art do you think it is?
  • How does the art make you feel?
  • What emotions do you think the artist felt when they created their masterpiece?

After answering these questions, appreciating art will become much easier for you. Remember to ask yourself if your opinion has changed from when you first saw the artwork, too. Make a mental note of this, to recognise the different feelings and opinions you held from start to finish.

How to appreciate modern art

Modern art print with circular and square coloured patterns

Modern art may seem a little overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with it, but this can soon be changed. First of all, ensure you don’t confuse modern art with contemporary art. Modern art came much earlier, in the 1860s and up until the 1960s, as opposed to contemporary art which means it has been produced in the present day.

If you’re wondering how to appreciate modern art, the first thing to understand is that it doesn’t have to mean anything; it’s subjective. Instead, spend time on each piece and also read about the work of art in question. This provides you with context surrounding the piece and who created it.

Reading actual facts rather than other people’s opinions on a piece of modern art is always best. This provides you with an unbiased opinion about the piece and lets you come to your own decision regarding what exactly it portrays.

How to appreciate abstract art

Abstract art painting with blue, yellow and orange tiles

There are many different types of art, but it may be that you want to know how to appreciate abstract art. Abstract art definitely requires you to have a big imagination, to really see through the splashes, swirls, and patterns that can appear on paper (or canvas).

Like most art forms, the subject matter is down to your interpretation. Some people can’t see past what they think is just a simple piece of art, when in fact there is so much more to it. Of course, this is to be expected when you first encounter abstract artwork, but our advice would be to try and see past these thoughts and really think about the artist’s mindset first.

Abstract art is rooted in texture, patterns, colour, fine lines, and sporadic forms, and once you’re aware of these factors, studying this type of art will become much easier to decipher and understand. Unlike some other forms of art, you need to dismiss everything familiar to you and accept what you can see for what it is, rather than trying to determine a specific meaning behind a painting (or print).

Test your new-found knowledge

Two women studying framed art prints on a wall

It’s time for you to put this knowledge into practice. When you do so, you’ll see the true value in art that you may not have recognised before reading this article.

For further insights on design and décor, art essentials and more, read our other blogs. You can also browse our remarkable range of prints to explore the different styles of artwork that are available to you, including everything from Art Nouveau posters to botanical wall art pieces.