Size Matters

Have you seen this painting before?

O.K but have you really seen it?

The vast majority of  people who have seen this painting will have viewed it on a screen or in a book at a maximum width of say 30cm. The real thing is ten times that size.

The way we experience something changes according to it’s size and whether we are in the actual space with it.

This painting was designed to be large and for the person viewing it to be in the same room as it exists.

Here it is again, We are standing in front of the painting and we want to see the whole thing so stand 15 feet or so away from the painting. At this distance we become aware that there is more going on in the painting than can be observed at that distance so we move physically closer.

This painting has a series of ‘frames’. A ‘frame is designed to hold the viewers eye within that space. In this case as we are drawn towards the image our gaze is held within that series of ‘frames’.

Closer now but there is still more to see as we are drawn into the subjects world. 

Our relationship with the subject begins to feel more intimate, we have spent time here now.

The ‘framing’ becomes more complex at this proximity and we start to feel an emotional connection with the subject.  

At this distance we are almost as close to the glass as the figure is. we are just the other side of the door. 

There is a lot to observe, we can create a narrative, we can study the patterns in the flesh or look at the technical details of the painting. Hopefully our quiet observational introspection starts to match the subjects.

The action of spending real physical time and space with the painting creates a moment of empathy with the subject.

I hope to write a few more pieces on how size effects different paintings in different ways.

 Watch this space.

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