Art’s Content

Love the Louvre, but can’t go to Paris?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Art can make us feel happy, calm, and peaceful. But not everyone has a museum in their neighborhood! Is there a hack? 

Enter MacKenzie Trupp from the University of Vienna and colleagues. They wondered if viewing art online could improve your mood.

Over eighty participants around the world viewed one of two online exhibits. One, a famous art piece – think Monet! The other, a cultural practice – like a depiction of a traditional meal! Before and after, researchers gauged participants’ well-being with a quiz. 

Results? Participants felt less lonely and anxious AFTER viewing the art! AND… it didn’t depend on exhibit type. 

Virtual art positively affects our mood like it does in person. More people can access online art than traditional museums, so more people can benefit! 

So the next time you’re feeling down, google a Van Gogh! It might set your mind at EASEL.

Reference: Trupp, M. D., Bignardi, G., Chana, K., Specker, E., & Pelowski, M. (2022). Can a Brief Interaction With Online, Digital Art Improve Wellbeing? A Comparative Study of the Impact of Online Art and Culture Presentations on Mood, State-Anxiety, Subjective Wellbeing, and Loneliness. Frontiers in Psychology, 13.