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    Looking at a painting: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

    Starr, Rachel and Smith, Jonathan A. (2023) Looking at a painting: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Art and Perception 11 (3-4), pp. 338-363. ISSN 2213-4913.

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    This research explores the experience of looking at art, specifically that of viewing a single painting. Five participants each selected a previously unseen painting from a selection provided and were interviewed about their experiences as they viewed it. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to explore the idiographic detail of the resulting interviews. Personal Experiential Themes (PETs) were developed independently for each participant and these individual cases were subsequently compared to form a structure of Group Experiential Themes (GETs). Three GETs, Elements of Engagement, Deeper Exploration and Vulnerability and Intimacy resulted. These themes represented in turn, early interactions, subsequent more considered imaginative and interpretative engagements, and the feelings evoked by encountering emotive content or questioning the voracity of one’s reactions. The first GET is reported in detail here and recounts viewers’ initial engagements with their chosen painting such as their experiences of first noticing’s, their curiosities, and the formation of early impressions. The viewers’ accounts of engagement involved senses of dynamism and sometimes physical force shaping the relationship between themselves and the painting. Three subthemes, Groping Out, Attracting Attention and Drawing In, detail the different experiential qualities of these engagements.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Jonathan Smith
    Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2023 16:03
    Last Modified: 18 Jan 2024 16:24


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