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BellaOnline's Art Appreciation Editor


Why We Should Appreciate Art in Museum Setting

You might ask, 'If you can shop online, why not view art online?' Surprisingly, there is science behind the reason why we most enjoy having one-on-one contact with original art in a museum vs. online. I’ll explain.

As stated in the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest, a study was conducted by a team led by David Brieber of the University of Wien.

Psychology students were divided into three groups: the first group was sent to Vienna’s Museum Startgalerie where the exhibit, "Beauty Contest" was held. This consisted of paintings, photographs, and collages that explored self-image, sexuality, and beauty.
One week later the first test group was exposed to the same art and artist bios, but on a computer.

A second test group was asked to view the art on the computer first, and then they visited the same exhibit at the Vienna museum.
The third group viewed the exhibit at the museum twice.

After the data was compiled, it was found that the students found the art at the museum "more stimulating, positive, and interesting."
Due to visualization, they also remembered artwork in surrounding spaces.
Note: these were psychology, not art history students.

Scientifically speaking, the reason for these findings is the "theory of situated cognition" – where the physical space of the museum changed how the students’ minds responded to what they saw - favorably.

Another study was conducted at Michigan State by author Stephanie Mangus. She and her team of researchers asked 518 people to look at two unfamiliar paintings with fabricated bios.
One artist was said to have spent a lifetime painting, the other only recently began to paint.

Not only did the test group find the artwork by the lifetime artist more favorable, they were more likely to purchase that art, versus the work by a novice artist.

As to a difference in opinion by gender – the women in the group were found to spend more time evaluating the artwork - whereas the men judged the artists more by their experiences, than the art itself.

Personally, I have found that visiting a museum to be the most quintessential art experience.
For example, when you see a copy of Vermeer’s "Girl With a Pearl Earring" in a textbook or on a computer screen, the facsimile just can’t capture the blush on the girl’s cheek when I viewed this painting at the Vermeer Exhibit, National Gallery, Washington, DC in 1996.

Nor can a copy capture the sheer scale of a painting – take Géricault’s "Raft of the Medusa" at the Louvre, Paris. When I saw this extraordinarily large painting, I was stricken with emotion in regard to its subject matter. If it were a small painting, perhaps it wouldn’t have made such an impact.

If you’ve always aspired to be in the company of geniuses, then visit a museum, where you can "spend time" amongst world class art and the artists who some believe may have been guided by a "higher power" or have simply drawn inspiration from "the power within."
What do you think?

You can own a premium poster of Johannes Vermeer's "Girl With a Pearl Earring."
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Content copyright © 2015 by Camille Gizzarelli. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Camille Gizzarelli. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Camille Gizzarelli for details.


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