PRESENTATION BY ROBERT STEWART
What is it we see when we view a painting or sculpture in a gallery or museum?
Just because our eyes may function properly when we look at a painting, it does not necessarily follow that we actually see what is there. An artist may spend hours, weeks, months, even years, on a painting.
Most viewers spend mere seconds on most paintings—what have they experienced in this? William Blake put it more vigorously: “We are led to believe a lie when we see with and not through the eye.”
The intelligence that went into the creation of art must be the same intelligence that views that same work, generously enough.
Another question is: because we are instinctively attracted to the beautiful, how do we define the beautiful in the 21st Century, especially in the Keatsian sense?