The Beauty of Seeing Art in Person

November 4th, 2009 by | Country: France | 2 Comments »

“To be sure, the reproduced work of art is much more accessible.  Thanks to photographic technology, any schoolchild can see a pretty accurate picture of The Last Supper in a book or the Internet.   No expensive airfare or museum admission needed.  The reproduction democratizes art.” – Life Inc. by Douglas Rushkoff

As an artist who studies art history, I have to disagree that seeing an accurate picture of an artwork in a book or the Internet is not as invaluable experience as it is seeing the work in person.  We can’t see the texture of the brushstrokes in photographs, but we can in person.  Seeing the textures of the brushstrokes are so astonishing that we feel tempted to touch the paintings. For instance, at Musée d’Orsay, we can view the surface of Claude Monet’s paintings in person.  The brushstrokes are obviously think as we can see the depth of the individual strokes.

Some paintings are so big that they can’t fit on a projector screen.  For instance, Gericault’s painting of The Raft of Medusa is ten times taller than an average person.  It’s so big that I often feel as if I can step inside the world of this painting.  I can stand and stare at the painting for several minutes and feel as if I’m part of the drama occurring inside the image.


Aside from paintings, seeing sculptures in person is a must.  Viewing sculptures in person gives us the opportunity to walk around the sculpture and sometimes to touch them to feel the textures.  For instance, seeing the sculpture of David by Michelangelo in Florence is completely astounding.  I was able to see the details of the veins in David’s body and the texture of the muscles, something I was never able to see in the images.

There is a reason why travelers visit museums and that is simply because experiencing the viewing of the works of art in first hand is invaluable.


November 4, 2009 at 5:51 pm

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November 4, 2009 at 11:08 pm

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