In the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, arts and cultural institutions quickly shifted from stationary buildings to the Internet.
For the first time, digital museums and online art galleries became the focus of public attention. This had two effects:
Benefits of Digital Art Viewing
Over the past decade, scholars have conducted numerous research studies demonstrating that art can positively impact health and well-being. However, it was unknown whether these effects could also be felt over the Internet.
In this study, MacKenzie Trupp, Ph.D., Matthew Pelowski of the Arts and Research on Transformation of Individuals and Society research group, and their colleagues from the Department of Psychology and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics asked participants to visit art exhibitions accessible via smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Before and after the visit, psychological state and well-being were measured to determine the extent to which viewing the art might be beneficial.
Results showed that even very brief viewings could have significant effects, leading to lower negative mood, anxiety, and loneliness and higher subjective well-being. These results were comparable to other interventions, such as nature experiences and visits to physical art galleries.
Upon further investigation, the personal subjective experiences of individuals became an important aspect to consider. The research team discovered that the more meaningful or beautiful people found the art to be, and the more positive feelings they had while viewing it, the greater the benefit.
These results demonstrate that brief online art viewing can improve and support well-being. In addition, this study emphasizes art interventions-a recommendations that can be implemented on-site or specific to individual viewers. This opens new avenues for further research and applications in spaces such as waiting rooms, hospitals, and rural areas with limited access to art.
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