The Art of Looking

What does art-science have to offer? What does art have to offer?

Art juxtaposes meanings that are recognizable and clear with those that are ambiguous and layered.
Contemplation/analysis leads to:

  • Developing critical and creative thinking
  • Meta-analysis skills
  • Increased skills in detailed observation and supportive reasoning.
  • Increase in speculative thinking and the consideration of multiple possibilities.
  • Articulating your thoughts leads to growth


Types of art viewers, from research by research by Abigail Housen.


Accountive Viewer


Constructive Viewer


Classifying Viewer


Interpretive Viewer


Re-Creative Viewers

  • senses, memories, personal associations, concrete observations, emotional linkages.
  • judgments are based on what is known and what is liked.
  • they seem to enter the work of art and become part of its unfolding narrative.
  • build a framework for looking at works of art
  • using own perceptions, knowledge of the natural world, personal values (social, moral and conventional world)
  • Works valued and related to what is expected within personal world view and a sense of what is realistic.
  • Emotional linkages less important, the viewer begins to distance emotionally.
  • identify the work as to place, school, style, time and provenance.
  • decode the work using knowledge of art history etc.
  • the work of art’s meaning and message explained relative to art history classifications.
  • a personal encounter with a work of art.
  • Exploring the work, letting its meaning slowly unfold,
  • appreciate subtleties of line and shape and color
  • critical skills predominate overfeelings and intuitions -- let underlying meanings of the work—what it symbolizes—emerge.
  • Each new encounter with a work of art presents a chance for new comparisons, insights, and experiences.
  • Knowing that the work of art’s identity and value are subject to reinterpretation, these viewers see their own processes subject to chance and change.
  • combine personal contemplation with views that broadly encompass universal concerns.