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Build Your Own Masterpiece: Art Appreciation With Jigsaws

Starry Sky over the Rhone Jigsaw Puzzle

Can't paint? Are you struggling to find the time to visit the National Gallery or any of the UK's other world-class galleries? Well, fine art jigsaws provide the next best thing and the chance to build your own masterpiece and engage in art appreciation at home.

For many, art appreciation is about being able to look at a work of art and form your own opinions of it. For others, art appreciation is about possessing knowledge and understanding of the universal, timeless qualities that characterise the best artworks.

To help you to better engage and develop your own knowledge of art in all of its forms, here are some tips on art appreciation for beginners.

Familiarise yourself with the artist

The first step towards art appreciation is taken by getting to know the artist. Taking the time to familiarise yourself with an artist's work will help you start identifying the unique style these artists work in. 

What type of painting is it?

There are many different types of painting, including landscape, portrait and still life. However, understanding the difference between a figurative painting and an abstract painting will help you to take your art appreciation skills up a notch.

For reference, figurative is where the subject of the painting is obvious, and abstract is where the painting is mainly colour, shapes and lines that are arranged in a certain way. This can be either harmonious and aesthetically pleasing; or chaotic and uncomfortable depending on the artist’s intention.

What is the subject of the painting?

This involves thinking: what is this painting about? So, for example, is the painting about anything unusual, intriguing or even controversial? Are there people in the painting, and if so, what are they doing? Is there any symbolism used in the painting? Asking yourself questions like this will help you to understand the subject of a painting.

How has the artist used colour?

How has the artist used colour to define light and shade? Do the colours the artist used invoke associations with hot or cold? Has the artist used a monochrome colour-scheme or a toned-down palette?

Many artists use 'high key' (light) and 'low key' (dark) colour schemes in their paintings. If an artist were to combine a high key and low key colour scheme, for example, they might be trying to convey a feeling of excitement or movement. In short, colour in combination can be used to great effect by an artist telling a story.

How has the artist used composition?

Analysing the composition involves reflecting upon how the elements that make up the painting have been positioned. Paintings with effective composition draw the eye in and encourage it to flow around the painting before settling on the main subject.

Look out for unity in a composition; i.e. do all the elements feel like they belong together? Is there a symmetrical balance to the paining that suggests 'calm'? Or is there an asymmetrical imbalance that suggests 'chaos'? Remember, for the best artists composition is a key tool in the expression of their art.

How does the painting make you feel?

The most important aspect of art appreciation is combining the above elements to reflect upon how a painting makes you feel. Do you love it? Do you hate it? What emotions do you feel? Were those feelings immediate, or did they build gradually while you were looking at the painting? Think about how a painting makes speaks to you, put it into words, and you're well on the way to becoming an appreciator of art.

Building your own masterpiece

From the Renaissance period and Art Nouveau right through to Impressionism and Neoclassical, we have fine art jigsaws from the most important movements in art history. Plus, we have jigsaws of paintings from some of the best artists to have ever graced the earth, including Di Vinci, Van Gough and Monet. You could even pick your own and have a personalised puzzle made to find a new way to engage with your favourite pieces of art and display them in your home.

So, if you fancy building your own masterpiece and having a go at art appreciation from the comfort of your own home, click here to check out our Fine Art Jigsaw range.