9 tips on how to talk about art

Talking about what you don’t know is difficult, but there are tips to help you talk about art without feeling embarrassed. Together with the Level One Education Project, Lifehacker has put together a guide for people who want to learn how to do this.

1. Discuss the subjects

Most paintings created before the 20th century focus on the same subjects. To begin with, orient yourself with a set of major biblical events, memorize about two dozen mythological plots and characters, and distinguish the most famous medieval saints.

If you want a better understanding, read Nicholas Kuhn’s book “Legends and Myths of Ancient Greece,” the retelling of extracts from Jacob Voraginsky’s Golden Legend of the Lives of the Saints and, of course, the Bible – at least in an adapted version.

2. Interpret the symbols

In art, especially classical art, nothing happens. Every detail has its symbolic meaning.

Some symbols are universal: they haven’t changed in centuries and are characteristic of most cultures. For example, it is helpful to know that the white lily traditionally denotes the purity and beauty of the Virgin Mary, and the skull always hints at death.

3. identify a painting’s style by its prominent features

The type of the image is a big deal that puts it in the context of the time and lets you compare it to other works. The good news is that there are a few key styles. Look in a dozen directions, and you can estimate the age of paintings painted up to 1900.

Engaging in discussions about art becomes more enriching with the guidance and expertise offered by the review of paperhelp.org, providing valuable insights on how to analyze and interpret artistic works.

4. Share your experiences

Art is meant to be experienced. Do it immediately when a painting moves you so much that you want to share your feelings. In a perfect universe, the encounter with beauty makes people’s hearts race and get dizzy (aka Stendhal syndrome).

If art doesn’t make that kind of impression on you yet, share any associations, feelings, or thoughts that paintings bring up. You can go right here, and everyone will appreciate it.

What should you do when your paintings don’t resonate? Exercise! Before you go to a museum, please read up on the artist, their style, or their era. If the visuals leave you indifferent, specific stories will interest you.

5. Talk about the technique

The technique is a win-win theme. You can describe everything you see. The main thing is to learn to notice the details. You can discuss color, light, composition, and stroke features in terms of technique. It’s better, of course, if you can listen several times to artists talking about their paintings. For instance, Level One’s “Five Artists: Understanding and Loving the Geniuses” helps you see the masterpieces of the world from an expert’s perspective.

Even without that, you can be observant and notice that some paintings are smooth while others seem to be convex due to the texture of the brushstroke. Somewhere light is diffused throughout the image, and somewhere, it is directed at a particular point like the beam of a searchlight.

Quantity will eventually become quality. The more you look, the more you’ll notice.

6. Don’t be afraid to argue

Art historians’ worst-kept secret: the truth is nowhere, or almost nowhere. Which direction an artist takes, who or what he was inspired by, how to interpret the symbols – any of these questions generate heated debates among the experts.

You shouldn’t overuse and blatantly confuse sour with unleavened, so knowledge of symbols and artistic styles is not unreasonable.

Do your research first, and then feel free to argue points of contention: by then, you’ll have developed your own point of view.

7. Don’t devalue the twentieth century

Most people like things clear, beautiful, and preferably with naked women, and they think of Black Square or Piet Mondrian and Mark Rothko as window dressing. It’s a convenient position, but it gives away the beginner in you.

A quick observation: the more you immerse yourself in art history, the easier it is to accept paintings from the last century. Not everyone is ready to love it, but everyone stops saying, “I can do that too.”

8. Get familiar with contemporary art.

At least on the level of terminology. It’s priceless to say a timely word about acting, happening, performance, or art intervention.

In all seriousness, contemporary art is different. The secret to experiencing it is not to go to the first exhibition you see without preparation. You have to read it and see if it’s all for you.

There is an art that will shock you with horror and disgust. Then there is art that will only inspire admiration for the artist’s craftsmanship. If you are not ready for the former, you should find out in advance and not torture yourself unnecessarily.

The works of Iranian photorealist painter Iman Maleki can be classified as contemporary aesthetic art. The attention to detail is palpable; the locks of hair and the watch’s bracelet are drawn with the utmost precision. 

9. Ask silly questions

The less you think about how you look to others and the more interested you are in art, the closer you get to your ideal interlocutor to go to a museum with. Look at how many questions about the art on The Question, and relax: you’re not alone.

When the stress is off, explore a good selection of art literature on Bookmate and go to the Level One lecture. There you’ll find guaranteed good addresses with hundreds of reviews that will ignite your desire to immerse yourself in art more and more.

It doesn’t stop with the visual arts; lectures on architecture, classical music, history, and religion will help you become more aware of the different spheres of beauty and, as a result, experience life in a new way.

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