The art world doesn’t have a reputation for rolling out its welcome mat for newcomers. Notoriously regarded as a creative escape for the uber-elite, the fine art community appears preciously gated by pretentiousness. The wealth gap alone is enough to deter curious minds from exploring art for their collections or simply for pleasure. Fortunately, there are no prerequisites, and you don’t have to wait for an elaborate initiation to dabble in the art scene.
Modern technology has free access to fine art, one less barrier to hurdle. In 2017 The Met launched its Open Access program, making images of its extensive archive of artworks and antiquities available to download, print, and repurpose. The initiative has spawned several like it and helps to democratize art; however, with more than 500,000 works public, the catalog can still be daunting for most people. So, I’ve compiled a small list of pieces to bait you down your artistic rabbit hole based on your personal aesthetic. Of course, there is plenty more to find for yourself.
Glam-Rock Aesthetic Judith with the Head of Holofernesca
by Lucas Cranach the Elder — 1530
For the Glam Rock aesthetic, I present Judith with the Head of Holofernesca. I imagine the 16th-century oil painting on a sizeable canvas fixed above a well-stocked bar across from your collection of David Bowie albums. You’ll pour a shot of tequila and toast to our girl Judy for heading out to a saucy concert. Artist, Lucas Cranach, the Elder, depicts the biblical heroine Judith after seducing and beheading the Assyrian warlord who captured her city. The piece is edgy, with just enough restraint to feel dignified. The contrast of a stately woman in this carnal state would have shocked the original viewers in a way that still translates today.
Minimalist Aesthetic Ducks in the Rushes
Watanabe Seitei — 1887
Ducks in the Rushes is the ideal piece to compliment a minimalist aesthetic. Japanese artist Wantabe Seitei uses the delicate and regionally renowned ink painting technique to…