An exploratory study of historical representations of love in an art gallery exhibition

Krause, Amanda E., and Davidson, Jane W. (2022) An exploratory study of historical representations of love in an art gallery exhibition. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 16 (3). pp. 455-467.

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Visitor responses to art exhibitions vary depending on visitor traits, the exhibition context, as well as the sensory engagement between visitor and exhibition. The present investigation explored visitors’ experiences of Love: Art of Emotions, a curated exhibition shown at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2017, which comprised a variety of artworks from the early modern period selected to address the broad theme of love. This article reports on a mixed-methods research project using a short survey and brief exit interviews with visitors to consider how the visitor experience was characterized, the factors that influenced this experience, and how the exhibition content was perceived, with particular focus on the emotional content portrayed in the exhibition’s collection of artworks. Results of quantitative analyses indicate that familiarity with artworks and their historical period combine with motivations for attending the exhibition (such as being motivated by the exhibition’s theme) and have a clear positive influence on one’s emotional experience of the exhibition overall. The results of thematic analyses pertaining to the interview responses provide evidence that visitors processed both the emotional and historical content in the exhibition—indicative of having contemplative experiences and often processing the exhibition content in relation to themselves. These findings have implications for designing future exhibitions and contribute to our broader understanding of how modern-day audiences perceive and respond to historical art exhibitions and the work they comprise.

Item ID: 67902
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1931-390X
Keywords: exhibition, early modern art, visitor studies, emotions, in-gallery experiences, history of emotions
Copyright Information: © 2021 American Psychological Association, all rights reserved.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Center of Excellence for the History of Emotions (CE110001011)
Date Deposited: 19 Jul 2021 00:59
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 60%
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4399 Other history, heritage and archaeology > 439999 Other history, heritage and archaeology not elsewhere classified @ 40%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 50%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1301 Arts > 130103 The creative arts @ 50%
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