Art Interpretation

Hone your observational skills with regularly featured art interpretation exercises by Brenda Moore-McCann, physician and art historian – no art experience required!

About Art Interpretation

Art interpretation exercises, edited by Dr. Brenda Moore-McCann, encourage the viewer to observe intensely by dissecting forms of visual art. In medicine and art, Brenda explains, the first thing we do is to look. Art is used here as tool for the processes of looking and hopefully, seeing. If we look in a deep way at either an artwork or a patient, we may see details which can lead us to the creation of a potential narrative/diagnosis. Since we see the world differently, each person may create a different narrative/diagnosis.

Each exercise is accompanied by an artwork, a series of straightforward questions based purely on observation, and answers to those questions. Images are selected that allow for someone with superficial knowledge or no knowledge, of art, to use their ability to look in a concentrated way at all parts of the artwork before formulating a possible narrative around what one has observed. The images may or may not have any direct relevance to medicine as the primary purpose is to look. The aim is to encourage the observer to slow down the act of looking, in order to appreciate the differences between — the glance, the stare, the gaze — and to sense how these are implicated in telling a story.

Thinking begins in the perceptual sphere.

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others” Jonathan Swift (1667-1745).

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