How to Look at Paintings: Unlocking Hidden Secrets and Symbols in Art

‘Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognises before it can speak’ 
– John Berger, Ways of Seeing.

A recent survey found that an average viewer looks at a painting in a museum for just 2 seconds!

 Why are gallery goers spending so little time interacting with art?
Paintings are often designed to be ‘read’. They contain hidden messages, secrets and symbols. These aren’t always obvious upon first glance. This study day will help to arm viewers with the necessary skills to approach a painting in a gallery or museum, examine it in detail, and delve beneath the surface of the work.

During the day we will ask pertinent questions relating to how we view paintings:
What makes a ‘masterpiece’?
How much should we let an artist’s life story affect how we view their work?
How do artists create drama and beauty in their works?
How important is it to understand symbols when looking at a painting?
We will draw upon a wide variety of artistic periods and movements, from the medieval period to the 20th Century.