Artistic tastes

That advice about buying art that you like and can live with over art you think will appreciate in value, only goes to show that our art appreciating eyes come in as many varieties as our every day reading the paper eyes. Part influenced by cultural background a lot of it just comes down to the random recipe that is personal taste, so any list of great works of art is bound to include some you find garish or overrated and be missing some that overwhelm you with emotion. But like wine you’ll never really know what kind of art speaks to you unless you open your eyes to it, and no work is done full justice until it is seen in the oil and canvas or marble, or polyester, or acrylic…etc.

It may be prudent to compare your taste with that of critics and art lovers alike and lay your eyes on some of the great works. The original of Klimt’s The Kiss, is only more dazzling, Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, swirls more epically in three dimensions than in two, Monet’s Water Lilly series is only more ethereal and serene, Dali’s melting clocks, or properly titled The Persistence of Memory more startlingly original, and Michelangelo’s David more perfect a specimen. Arguably the most famous art work in the world is the Mona Lisa, but many people, on rushing past the numerous other great works in the Louvre to see her are disappointed by both her size and her dark hue, so she is definitely not the piece I would recommend beginning with. Instead use that sound advice to choose what you like and peruse a list, looking for pieces that strike you. Art is a reaction of the gut as well as of the mind, so you’ll inevitably know when you’ve been ‘struck’ by a work.

Don’t forget, in all this talk of the best, the great and the timeless, that each gallery, big or small, has numerous works, all of them worthy of appreciation on some level, and the private discovery of a work of art that moves you or keeps you captivated before it is probably the best kind of art experience. Visiting galleries as you travel will only expand your knowledge and hone your own tastes as your eyes drink in works lauded by cultures other than your own. You’ll begin to recognise names and styles and make connections between different pieces now spread all over the world.

On a practical level art galleries are not only quiet, contemplative places to explore while travelling, they also reflect the local tastes, culture and history and have the best postcards in town, and you’ll have seen the original in all its inspirational man made magnificence. There’s nothing nicer than the carefully selected gift of art. Even if it’s not to your precise taste.

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