03. Early Europe & Colonial Americas, Art & Humanities

Art Appreciation from a “Dummy”

Art Appreciation from a “Dummy”

So my parents went to Italy this summer (see their itinerary HERE) and my dad got inspired to do his own blog musings. His disclaimer is that he doesn’t know anything about art history so his posts are “from a Dummy” but, as an art historian, I am fact checking him as we go along. So below is his first post on his reflections on art he saw while in Italy. Enjoy! 🙂


This may seem weird but this is what I like to do when I go see paintings, especially portraits. I go right up to them, look them in the eyes and say “So you’re the Duke of _______ or the duchess of ______?” and I say “Wow that is a nice hat/outfit/bracelet/etc. You wore that specifically because you wanted to show off something about your life.” You then look at their surroundings, what they are holding, doing, wearing…it tells you about them as humans. For example, if they were a traveler, they might hold a globe and a wealthy mother may show off a locket of her children.

The Mechanics of a Painting (from a mechanic)

Due to the period we live in, a picture can be a painting or a photograph. It’s hard to appreciate a painting when you are accustomed to photos. Think about it: somebody took a bunch of little dots of paint and put them together on a canvas and in a couple of hours it now looks like a photograph. They had to make sure to include shading, lighting, expression, subliminal thoughts and convey all that to the audience on a flat piece of canvas.


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