Art and Armchairs

Suzanna Gregg considers the relaxing quality of painting, one aspect of art which inspired the founding of Art High.


Art and Armchairs; do the two belong together? Is art relaxing? Let’s consider the view of an artist.

Henri Matisse discussed the potential of art as a form of relaxation, “a soothing, calming influence on the mind, something like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue”. Clearly Matisse believed in the relaxing quality of art, indeed he specified the nature of art which may provide such relaxation; “an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter”. What form might this art take? What artworks best represent Matisse’s description? Who decides?

It is possible to discover the artworks which promote relaxation, however only one individual holds the power to decide which works provide an armchair for your mind, yourself! It is entirely dependent upon your own personal taste – the colours, forms, themes and narratives – which are relaxing for you. Are you ready to take on the challenge?

Finding appropriate artworks may appear to be a daunting task yet it is easily achievable given a little time, patience, and boldness. You need no prior experience or knowledge for this. When you have some free time visit your local gallery. As you walk into each room do not feel you have to look at everything. Simply be led by whatever works attract you – perhaps the colours, the form, or the subject matter. Draw close and spend some time just looking; engage with the art.

As we explore art in this manner, considering only what attracts and relaxes us, we will begin to identify the works which calm and sooth, which provide that armchair for our minds. You might perhaps wish to learn about the art that attracts you – the style, the artist, the history of the piece – and to seek out more works from that period or artist. Alternately you may be satisfied to revisit your chosen artworks, growing more familiar with them. Either way the key is to take pleasure in the experience. Enjoy!

(We would love to hear about your explorations in art, and to know which works provide your armchair, so please leave a message below, thank you.)






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