Mindful Viewing: A Guide to Calm, Contemplative Experiences with Art

    Are you ready to relax, recharge, and connect more deeply with art? This guide will walk you through steps to help calm and focus your mind and open it up to new insights as you look slowly at one work of art at a time. When you are ready to begin, press Play for music (optional) and follow the steps below. Please use headphones in the museum.

    Meditations on Belief

     

    I Will Remember

     

    The Works of the Lord

     

     

    Awaken.

    Take a slow, deep breath, in and out. Count your natural breathing in and out for three more breaths.

    Notice the artwork around you from a distance. Open your mind to a sense of wonder and curiosity.

     

    Explore.

    Choose an area you feel drawn to, and go to it. Find a work of art you would like to spend time with. Don’t worry about reading the label just yet.

    Stand or sit far enough away from the work to take in the entire frame.

     

    Relax.

    Return your awareness to your breathing, in and out.

    Soften your gaze. Relax your jaw, neck, and shoulders.

     

    Receive.

    Let your eyes move slowly across the surface of the work. Follow the lines, shapes, and patterns.

    Notice what feelings arise in you as you look. Be receptive to thoughts, emotions, memories, and ideas that surface.

     

    Observe.

    Make a mental inventory of everything you see in the work. What are the shapes? What are the colors? What objects do you see depicted?

    Describe in your mind what you are seeing, as if you were trying to help someone envision it without seeing.

     

    Inquire.

    Ask yourself questions about the work. What is it about? How was it created? Why has the artist included certain details?

    Feel free to move closer and take in the details. Read the label to learn more.

     

    Connect.

    How does this work relate to your own experience and beliefs?

     

    Reflect.

    Stand back and look at the work as a whole, reflecting on your favorite part.

    Take a mental snapshot of the work to keep with you as a memory.

     

    Smile.

    Congratulations on completing a mindful viewing experience! When you are ready, feel free to move on to another work.