anonymous asked:

Hey Pauline! Though you mainly post about books, I'd like to know if you have any tips to familiarize more with paintings, sculptures and other forms or art. Thank you!

Hi love! I absolutely do, although my art knowledge is more tourist, less expert.

First things first, do research and read about the movements, artists or pieces that have attracted your eye and appeal to you most. You can find a lot of information online, for example on Wikipedia, WikiArt or Oxford Art. Art books are my favourites, of course, but they can become quite pricey; Taschen’s collection of art books by movements and authors is very affordable, and you can find a lot of second-hand beautiful art books on Abebooks [Art].

Here are some extensive art history books that could provide you with an overview  :

The Story of Art, E. H. Gombrich
History of Beauty, Umberto Eco
On Ugliness, Umberto Eco
Discovering the Arts of Japan, Tsuneko S. Sadao
Classical Art, from Greece to Rome, Mary Beard
-Isms, Understanding Modern Art, Sam Philips

If you can, the best way to familiarize yourself with art in general is to go to museums and confront yourself to it directly. Seeing works in real life will help you shape your taste and of course, will make you understand the true, raw beauty of a piece. Not only that, but museums are a very informative experience in themselves : read the paintings stickers, read the exhibition’s signs, take the audioguide option, and you will learn lots in just one afternoon.

Above all, keep an open mind. Don’t shy away from works that you dislike immediately, but rather ask yourself why you dislike it, and try to understand the piece - what is it? What does its title mean? What motivated its creation? This goes particularly for Modern Art, but it’s always important that you consider the experience of art as an experience of both opening yourself to the world (to the creation of another) and of introspection (what do I feel? What do I think? How do I connect?). Knowledge of art is good, but it is even more enriching when you bring your own experiences and your own perceptions into it. Just like literature, the visual arts are an act of expression and absorption, which makes it unique for everyone. If you go to museums, go with friends : talking about what you’re feeling, seeing, understanding is the highlight of a museum’s visit. 

And finally; follow them! They’d be much more helpful for you, just through their posting :


Have fun!