The psychology of art is an interdisciplinary field that studies the perception, cognition and characteristics of art and its production.
The work of Theodor Lipps, a Munich-based research psychologist, played an important role in the early development of the concept of art psychology during the beginning of the twentieth century. His most important contribution in this respect was his attempt to theorize the question of “Empathy”, a term that was to become a key element in many subsequent theories of art psychology. In his time, Theodor was one of the main supporters of the idea of the unconscious, and among Theodor’s many admirers was the world famous psychologist Sigmund Freud.
Recently, the Minneapolis Institute of Art received a $750,000 grant to establish the world’s first Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts. The center’s goal is to learn “how to spark and nurture empathy through the visual arts, so that M.I.A. and all art museums can contribute even more toward building a just and harmonious society,” museum president Kaywin Feldman said.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art has a five year plan where they will enlist everyone from researchers, scholars, and philosophers to artists, thought leaders, and content experts to determine how museums can help their audiences develop compassion and become more emotionally intelligent.
While the meaning of what we see is up to us to decide when viewing art, it’s interesting and fun to read about possible interpretations of what our first glances could mean in terms of our current focuses, personality and feelings of compassion.
Look at the picture below and notice the first image you see, then continue reading to see what it says about you:
What You See First Reveals Aspects Of Your Focus And Personality
1. Person Riding A Horse
If the first thing you saw was the person riding a horse, this means you have been growing in your feelings of empathy and compassion for others. In the picture, the rider is looking at a poor person sleeping on the ground, and his arm is reaching for something, likely coins, to give them. The rider himself is reasonably dressed and on a beautiful and well groomed white stallion, showing that his basic needs are likely taken care of.
Those who see the rider first have achieved a certain level of success and financial stability in their lives, and noticing the difficult circumstances of the poor, their hearts are moved to want to ease their suffering as well. You have a wonderfully caring heart, and have often given to people you’ve seen on the street, shared smiles, and given them a reason of love and kindness that helps them to keep on living.
The poor person sleeping on the ground is also covered in a beautifully colored garment resembling ‘light’ and an aspect of divinity. Many philosophers and spiritual teachers from the past have taught that when we help the poor, we are actually serving our divinity and our highest self. You can relate to the poor people that you notice in your life, understanding that if you had been given the same circumstances growing up, and the same mental and physical conditions, that you likely would have the exact same life as them. This understanding allows you to foster a state of compassion and empathy for them, and your level of caring is worthy of being painted into a beautiful work of art.
2. The Face
If you first saw the face when looking at this picture, you’re able to see the big picture in life in terms of compassion and empathy. The man’s face is comprised of a man on a horse about to compassionately give to a poor person sleeping on the ground, wrapped in garments resembling the colors of light. Your loving wisdom gathered through the years has enabled you to understand that what the world needs more of is kindness, charity, generosity and compassion.
The face in the picture has a fierce look of determination, symbolizing the commitment and desire to making the world a better place. You likely have engaged in charity related giving in the past, and have often volunteered your time to a great cause, and you may have studied how the principles of loving your neighbor can serve as a great catalyst of change in the world, causing a ripple effect of kindness that potentially goes on forever.
The wisdom you have gathered from your many kind experiences is worthy of teaching to others, so consider passing on your knowledge of how to be kind, charitable, and truly helpful to those in need to the people around you. While conversation is a wonderful step in education, kindness is ultimately taught and learned during the action of doing kindness. Your kind heart is deeply needed by the world today, and it takes leadership from caring people like you to carry the world to a bright and peaceful future. Stay true to your heart, and see where you can make a real difference in your community. Your wisdom of kindness and compassion will serve as a foundation for many who need to know the loving ways that you have to teach.
Was this interpretation true in some ways for you?
Let us know in the comments.
You are a wonderfully compassionate person, and you are loved.