The viewing of art online, or in other words, what yer missin’

Art surrounds us; in the ads we see, the movies and TV shows we watch, even in the clothes we wear. Art is on the cover of our music CD’s. It’s the wallpaper on our cell phones, and it’s the design in our cars. With all of this art that surrounds us, it’s a shock to find out that we humans are missing the boat when it comes to the actual viewing of art!

Art online is meant to be a teaser; an appetizer for the eyes and the mind. Art is meant to be looked at closely, to be experienced in person. The internet is a great marketing tool, but in many ways, while allowing artists greater exposure than ever, it also, paradoxically, has put a distance between the artist and the viewer that didn’t used to be there.

Art is meant to be taken in, in person. To stand in front of piece is to truly experience that art work. For example, when the Portland Art Museum had the Dutch Master’s exhibit. One of my favorite pieces of art work is Rembrandt’s “The Music Lesson”. I had not seen this in person before. Usually these pieces are housed in a lovely museum in Amsterdam but they were on loan while the museum in Amsterdam was renovated.

Rembrandt "The Music Lesson"

The Music Lesson
Oil on wood

I cannot begin to describe the difference! I had, up until this exhibit, only seen this piece in photos. I was absolutely blown away! This small piece, this tiny piece of art, carried a visual impact that didn’t come across through the pictures. One had to see this in person, to experience the beautiful subtle details of the piece; the iridescence of the clothing, the richness of the painted fabrics, all of this was a shadow that could only be seen to be a shade of the original when viewing the piece in person!

The only way to see the details, to truly grasp and appreciate a piece of art, is like a piece of good writing. A synopsis just gives us a little taste of the essay, the book, the story. It whets our curiosity. That synopsis, it tempts us to read more of that writing. I’m easily tempted; I LOVE the written word!

Visual art is that way, as well. One has to go to the piece to appreciate the time, the eff0rt and the power of imagination. The internet gives us a taste, sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter, but to get the full flavor, one must go to see that piece in person.


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