Museums can be overwhelming. So much to see, so little time. What would happen if you decided to view only a limited number of artworks today, and took more time to really look at them? What if, instead of looking at everything quickly, you looked just at a few things slowly?
We invite you to try any of the following four strategies for slow looking and wish you an insightful and memorable experience. All artworks can be found in the Of Souls and Sacraments exhibition on display on the lower level of the MOA.
Casting a wide net can yield a range of observations and reveal the complexity of things. Explore and discover everything, everywhere, in any given work of art. No limits, no restrictions!
Examine every aspect of Niccolò di Pietro Gerini's large painting Madonna and Child Enthroned. Try to identify 10 things you noticed.
Be sure to try this activity with some of your favorite art pieces!
Narrow Your Focus
Focusing on something specific gives structure to the museum experience. Select an artwork and focus on certain types of things, such as colors, shapes, lines, faces, hands, objects, arrangement, or anything that interests you.
Study only the body language and facial expressions of the figures in The Crucifixion: A Triptych, by Bernard Sleigh and describe their emotions.
Change your Perspective
Changing perspective can lead to the discovery of small details and large patterns. Alter your physical proximity to an artwork, as well as your vantage point.
Enjoy an up-close view of Henry Ossawa Tanner's At the Gates (Flight Into Egypt), by zooming in on details and textures with your smartphone.
Compare and Contrast
Noticing similarities and differences between artworks can enrich your insights. Compare and contrast two adjacent artworks and describe your observations. Consider color, figures, emotions, and even ideas
each artwork represents.
Try to compare and contrast Holy Family, by Jacopino del Conte and The Lamentation, by Johann Michael Rottmayr. Do the two paintings share similar subjects? How do they differ in color and brushstrokes?
Basic Tips for Slow Looking
Feed your interest: Select artworks that speak to you (or start with our suggestions).
Give it time: Don't worry if nothing comes to mind at first. Let your eyes and your mind wander as you engage with artworks. Really slow down and take your time!