“Irresistibly readable, companionable, and quotable.”—Joyce Carol Oates
Artists visit museums both for pleasure and to learn. Tag along and discover how a painting’s composition and content or a sculpture’s spatial structure influence the experience of what you’re seeing. With an artist as your guide, you can begin to see art as an artist does.
A visit to view art can be overwhelming, exhausting, and unrewarding. Lincoln Perry wants to change that. In fifteen essays—each framed around a specific theme—he provides new ways of seeing and appreciating art.
Perry is a disarmingly charming tour guide who makes art approachable and accessible. Along the way, he weaves in personal stories, from his own artistic journey as a painter and sculptor to the days when he could still spend nights in his beaten-up VW Bus in the Louvre’s parking lot.
Drawing heavily on examples from the European traditions of art, Perry aims to overturn assumptions and asks readers to re-think artistic prejudices while rebuilding new preferences. Included are essays on how artists “read” paintings, how scale and format influence viewers, how to engage with sculptures and murals, as well as glimpses into some of the great museums and churches of Europe.
Seeing Like an Artist is for any artist, art-lover, or museumgoer who wants to grow their appreciation for the art of others.
“Lincoln Perry has written an irresistibly readable, companionable, and quotable artist’s memoir in this Grand Tour of commentary on museums (primarily European) and artists as varied as Rodin, Picasso, Corot, Bruegal, Veronese (the “group figure narrative”), Bernini, Courbet, R.B. Kitaj, Masaccio and Masolino, Rubens, Pollock, and Rothko. There is no substitute for seeing art ‘in situ,’ as Perry tells us, but accompanying this ideal observer, a practicing artist with the sharp, sympathetic eye of a fellow craftsman, is an exhilarating experience.”
—Joyce Carol Oates, author of Babysitter
“Lincoln Perry writes so clearly and sees everything in a state of wonder. His visual experience embraces ancient Greece, the Renaissance, African and Asian art, Modernism. He finds the abstractionist in Michelangelo and the storyteller in Picasso. No one knows how to cite quotations better than he. He has looked into museums all over the world and literally lived in a camper next to the Louvre. He is a wonderful companion on the page and an unintimidating expert: this book will open your eyes.”
—Edmund White, author of A Previous Life
“So much writing about art seems like useless noise—abstract, pretentious, gassy. This is not that. Lincoln Perry takes us on a journey, showing us what he sees and how he sees, and it’s wonderful. There is revelation on every page.”
—James Gleick, author of Time Travel: A History