Friday, December 25, 2009

How to Understand (and Savor) Great Art

This short clip is taken from a longer presentation on the art curriculum at the oh-so-wonderful VanDamme Academy.

I recommend watching it in full, but wanted to highlight this portion of it because it made me remember an Edgar Allen Poe quote (from the Purloined Letter):

"When I wish to find out how wise or how stupid or how good or how wicked is anyone, or what are his thoughts at the moment, I fashion the expression of my face, as accurately as possible, in accordance with his, and then wait to see what thoughts or sentiments arise in my mind or heart, as if to match or correspond with the question."

Travers has taken the full pedagogical value of this quote and applied it to great effect at VanDamme Academy. Those watching this short presentation might be able to use it to get more enjoyment out of art than they otherwise would.

I myself got the quote from a book called Emotions Revealed--which, though it was not its main purpose, has increased the enjoyment I get out of art manifold.

Again, if you want to experience art, if but briefly, in all its life-enhancing glory, watch this presentation from the start. But remember this quote, along with the method presented, and I suspect you will begin to savor many great works of art that in the past you might not have even glanced twice at.

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