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Looking at art online may benefit your well-being


Photo: National Gallery of Art

Can’t get to an art museum? Viewing famous paintings on a screen can have the same positive effects as seeing works of art in person, researchers say.

The researchers asked 240 people to view an online, interactive exhibition of Claude Monet’s Water Lily Pond. Afterward, participants completed a questionnaire that asked about their state of mind, the pleasure they felt viewing the images and how meaningful the experience was to them. 

The participants reported significant reductions in negative mood, anxiety and loneliness, as well as an increase in subjective well-being – sometimes in as little as a few minutes after viewing the art.

The researchers say their findings offer benefits for anyone who’s unable to visit art galleries or showings in person.

“Online art viewing is an untapped source of support for well-being that can be consumed as bite-sized bits of meaning-making and pleasure,” said lead study author MacKenzie Tripp of the University of Vienna.

The study was published online in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.


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