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Discovering and Enjoying Art

as a hobby

Art is anything you can get away with.

The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan

Unveiling the world of art can be an enriching and accessible hobby. Exploring museums (virtually or in person!), watching documentaries, or simply browsing online collections can spark curiosity and ignite a love for creativity. Art appreciation can reduce stress, boost focus, and offer a deeper understanding of different cultures, the world in general, and you in particular. Start your artistic journey today.

Helpful content to start discovering and enjoying art as a hobby

We aim to provide accurate information, but errors might be found. Always exercise judgment and discretion.

📼 Videos

Short visual inspiration.

YouTube Playlist | Google Arts & Culture
Google Arts &  Culture
YouTube | What is Art for?
What is Art for?
YouTube Playlist | Great Art Explained
Great Art Explained
YouTube Playlist | What Is? Art movements & styles
What Is? Art movements & styles

🎙️ Podcasts

Play an episode while exploring the page.

Spotify | The Week in Art
Spotify Embed: The Week in Art
Spotify | Talk Art
Spotify Embed: Talk Art
Spotify | Episode 1 – Art Smack
Spotify Embed: Episode 1 - Art Smack
Spotify | Art Smart Trailer
Spotify Embed: Art Smart Trailer
Spotify | Trailer: A brush with…
Spotify Embed: Trailer: A brush with...

We conclude that the gallery visit caused rapid normalisation (recovery) from the consequences of high stress.

Normalisation of salivary cortisol levels and self-report stress by a brief lunchtime visit to an art gallery by London City workers

📜 Terms

Basic lingo for orientation.

Art Styles and Movements

Prehistoric Art (c. 40,000 BCE – 3500 BCE)

The earliest known art, featuring cave paintings, sculptures, and engravings with symbolic meaning.

Ancient Art
  • Ancient Egyptian Art (c. 3100 BCE – 30 BCE): Characterized by monumentality, symbolism, and focus on the afterlife. Hieroglyphics were a prominent feature.
  • Ancient Mesopotamian Art (c. 4500 BCE – 330 BCE): Known for detailed sculptures, reliefs, and intricate cylinder seals depicting mythology and daily life.
  • Ancient Greek Art (c. 800 BCE – 146 BCE): Emphasized realism, idealization of the human form, and balance, often depicting gods, heroes, and philosophical themes.
  • Ancient Roman Art (c. 500 BCE – 476 CE): Heavily influenced by Greece but incorporated Etruscan elements. Roman artists excelled in architecture, engineering, and realistic sculptures.
Medieval Art (c. 4th century – 14th century)

A broad term encompassing European art during the Middle Ages. Primarily religious, with Christian themes in paintings, sculptures, and stained glass windows.

Renaissance Art (14th century – 16th century)

A shift from the Middle Ages, emphasizing realism, humanism, and classical ideals. Notable artists include Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

Baroque Art (16th century – 18th century)

Characterized by drama, emotionality, and the use of light and shadow. Often depicted religious themes in a grand and theatrical style. Artists like Caravaggio, Rubens, and Rembrandt are well known from this period.

18th & 19th Century Art
  • Neoclassicism (18th century – 19th century): A reaction to the Baroque style, drawing inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome. It emphasized clean lines, geometric forms, and historical themes.
  • Romanticism (18th century – 19th century): Highlighted emotion, imagination, and nature. It often depicted dramatic landscapes, historical events, and individual emotions.
  • Realism (19th century): Focused on depicting everyday life and social issues in a realistic and objective manner.
  • Impressionism (19th century): Emphasized capturing the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere, with loose brushstrokes and vibrant colors.
Late 19th & Early 20th Century Art
  • Post-Impressionism (1880s – 1900s): Built on Impressionism but incorporated more symbolic and expressive elements.
  • Expressionism (early 20th century): Focused on expressing emotional experiences rather than depicting reality objectively.
  • Symbolism (late 19th century – early 20th century): Used symbolic imagery and metaphors to convey deeper meanings.
  • Art Nouveau (late 19th century – early 20th century): An ornate and decorative style inspired by natural forms.
  • Fauvism (early 20th century): Emphasized bold, non-naturalistic colors and simplified forms.
20th & 21st Century Art
  • Cubism (early 20th century): Fragmented objects into geometric forms to depict them from multiple viewpoints.
  • Futurism (early 20th century): Glorified speed, technology, and violence, often depicting motion and dynamism.
  • Constructivism (early 20th century): Used geometric forms and industrial materials to create abstract sculptures.
  • Dada (early 20th century): An anti-art movement that challenged traditional aesthetics and embraced absurdity.
  • Surrealism (1920s – 1930s): Explored the subconscious mind and dream imagery, often using fantastical and dreamlike elements.
  • Abstract Expressionism (mid-20th century): Focused on the artist’s emotions and gestures rather than depicting recognizable objects.
  • Pop Art (1950s – 1960s): Drew inspiration from mass media and popular culture, often using bold colors and recognizable imagery.
  • Minimalism (mid-20th century – present): Emphasized simplicity, geometric forms, and the use of industrial materials.
  • Conceptual Art (mid-20th century – present): The idea or concept behind the work is more important than the physical object itself

How to start discovering and enjoying art as a hobby

First moves for getting acquainted and breaking the ice.

  • Explore art collections and exhibitions online.
  • Search for art galleries, museums, and exhibitions near you.
  • Subscribe to art newsletters or install art apps for a recurring dose of art.
  • If you feel a more scholarly approach might enhance your experience, explore art books and courses.

💡Tip: Become an art collector and turn your home into an art gallery – for free.

📚 Books

Get read-y.

Looking at art can immediately release dopamine, the chemical related to love and pleasure.

Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain

🪜 How-tos

Step-by-step tutorials.

YouTube | How to Look at an Artwork
How to Look at an Artwork
YouTube | Steve Martin on how to look at abstract art | MoMA BBC | THE WAY I SEE IT
Steve Martin on how to look at abstract art | MoMA BBC | THE WAY I SEE IT

📄 Articles

Further reading.

YouTube | What does art do to your brain?
What does art do to your brain?
YouTube | Why you NEED to visit an art museum
Why you NEED to visit an art museum

🌐 Websites

Go-tos for information.

The museum experience increased visitors’ feelings of pleasantness, happiness, and enjoyment and decreased their sense of wakefulness, alertness, and tension.

Influence of an Art Museum Visit on Individuals’ Psychological and Physiological Indicators of Stress

🍿 Movies

Nothing like a film for inspiration.

YouTube | CIVILIZATIONS | Official Trailer | PBS
CIVILIZATIONS | Official Trailer | PBS
YouTube | National Gallery Official Trailer 1 (2014) – Documentary HD
National Gallery Official Trailer 1 (2014) - Documentary HD


Get a clue.

Is discovering and enjoying art a hobby?

Absolutely! Art appreciation can be a fulfilling and enriching hobby. It allows you to explore creativity, learn about different cultures, and gain a deeper understanding of the world and yourself.

I have no artistic talent. Can I still enjoy art?

Definitely! You don’t need to be an artist yourself to appreciate art. There’s so much to learn about art history, different movements, and the lives of famous artists. You can simply enjoy looking at art and letting it inspire you.

There is so much art, where do I start?

There are many ways to begin! Visit galleries and museums near you or virtually, browse online art collections, watch documentaries about art history, or read books about popular artists and movements.

You can also subscribe to art newsletters or install art apps, for a more curated, automated, exploration of the arts.

What kind of art should I explore first?

There are no rules! Start with what interests you. Do you like historical paintings? Modern photography? Explore different styles and see what resonates with you.

Will this be expensive?

Discovering art doesn’t have to be expensive. Many museums offer free admission days, and there are countless free online resources available. You can also visit local galleries or participate in art walks.

You can even collect art and turn your home into an art gallery – for free.

What if I don’t understand the meaning behind art?

Art can be open to interpretation. There might not always be a single, clear meaning. What matters is how the art makes you feel, what thoughts it evokes, and what connections you make.

I’m worried I’ll feel intimidated in museums or galleries.

Most museums and galleries are welcoming to everyone. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or take your time exploring. Many museums offer audio guides or guided tours, too.

Is there anything I can do besides looking at art?

Absolutely! Consider taking an art appreciation class, trying a basic drawing or painting course, or even visiting an artist’s studio. There are many ways to get involved with the art world.

You can also collect art and display it in your home (even for free).

How will discovering art benefit me?

Art appreciation can improve your focus, reduce stress, and boost creativity. It can also help you learn about different cultures and develop critical thinking skills.

📱 Apps

Smart assistance.

YouTube | Meet Google Arts & Culture | 👋 HELLO! | Google Arts & Culture
Meet Google Arts & Culture | 👋 HELLO! | Google Arts & Culture
YouTube | Artsy: Buy More Art (2022)
Artsy: Buy More Art (2022)

The literature suggests art museum visitation is associated with reductions in ill-being outcomes and increases in well-being outcomes.

Art museums as institutions for human flourishing: The Journal of Positive Psychology

📦 Products

Essentials to have.

YouTube | Introducing Meural Canvas II | Powered by NETGEAR
Introducing Meural Canvas II | Powered by NETGEAR


Get smart.

📍 Near You

Get together.

Visiting the gallery has been found to relieve people of mental exhaustion, the same way the outdoors can.

Beyond Learning: Exploring Visitors’ Perceptions of the Value and Benefits of Museum Experiences

📬 Newsletters

Subscribe for inspiration.

💡 Tips

Additional advice for beginners.