For their third Slow Art Day, the Sint-Pauluskerk in Antwerp, Belgium, produced a slow-panning video of Peter Paul Rubens’ painting ‘The Flagellation of Christ’.
Narrated by Wilfried Van den Brande, with text by Rudi Mannaerts, the video features the stunning inside of the church and a commentary on Rubens’ artwork (click on the photo below to watch).
Previously on loan to the Doge’s palace in Venice, the painting returned to Antwerp in time for the Slow Art Day event. Since Easter fell on the week following Slow Art Day this year, the painting’s theme of Christ’s suffering fit in well with the pre-Easter church calendar.
Many thanked the church for sharing the video, and several explicitly talked about how much they missed visiting the actual church. The Facebook video was viewed 2,535 times.
At Slow Art Day HQ, we are delighted that the thoughtful connection between the event hosted by Sint-Pauluskerk and the Easter holiday was so well received.
We hope that Sint-Pauluskerk will be able to open its doors for Slow Art Day 2021.
Participants were encouraged to choose an image, drawing or photo to look at for 5-10 minutes and find a comfortable seated position. The Fotomuseum outlined 5 stages for its meditative slow-looking activity:
“Close your eyes. Pay attention to your breath, and put one hand on your stomach to feel it. If your mind wanders, return to your breath. Breathe in for 4 seconds and out for 6. Repeat this 5 times.”
2) Look at your artwork
“Open your eyes and look at the artwork with the same alertness you had for your breath. Ask yourself the following questions:
What do you notice?
What colors, composition, shapes and materials do you see?
Does the artwork remind you of events from your own life?
Would anyone else notice the same things as you?
If your mind wanders, try to return to the image.”
“Close your eyes a second time, and return focus to your breathing. Take a few deep breaths so you feel the air flow deeply into your lungs, and then breathe as normal again. Pay attention to any thoughts about the artwork, but try to not lose yourself in them. Return to your breathing again.”
4) Look a second time
“Open your eyes and look at the artwork for the second time.
What stands out to you now?
Do you notice anything new?
Does the artwork take on a new meaning for you?”
“Take a moment to reflect on the exercise.
Did you notice yourself thinking or looking in a different way?
Do you have a new or different connection with the artwork?”
The original in-person event planned by the museum attracted interest from over 150 prospective attendees, and the online instructions were shared to Facebook with 50+ interactions.
At Slow Art Day HQ we have loved using these thoughtful instructions for our own slow-looking. Try them out at home for yourself!
We look forward to The Fotomuseum’s 6th Slow Art Day in 2021 ― hopefully in their actual museum.
Note: The above instructions were translated from the original Dutch.
PS – You may want to take a look at the webinar they did for Slow Art Day last year.
BOZAR Center of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium hosted participants ages 10 to 70 in their multi-sensory 4th annual Slow Art Day in 2019.
Attendees focused on the exhibition Bernard van Orley: Brussels and the Renaissance, where they meditated in front of the rich landscapes within Bernard van Orley’s tapestries while listening to polyphonic renaissance music. Visitors also looked at portraits of the powerful but tragic Margaret of Austria while listening to her life story.
Participants reportedly went home with peaceful smiles.
We love to hear of such creative Slow Art Days, and look forward to BOZAR’s participation in 2020.
Host Lieve Raymaekers at BOZAR in Brussels, Belgium writes of their Slow Art Day 2017 experience,
It was again (our second) great experience. Very mindful and peaceful, joyful…We started with a group meditation of 5 minutes around a Pol Bury fountain. We walked in silence throughout the exhibition before starting the slow looking exercises. The guides used hourglasses to measure the time and bell to mark the beginning and end of each exercise. The participants chose works themselves to look at. Most works of Pol Bury move very slowly and in unexpected ways. They invite you to look slowly and take your time. The drawing exercise – choose one work to draw (what you see, feel, imagine…) for 10 minutes – worked very well. The discussions after each exercise and at the end (we took 2 hours) were very inspiring.
– When you look slowly you’ll remember better what you’ve seen
– Slow looking helps to better understand the artist
– When you look at less works you see more
– The experience of Slow Art Day makes the experience of the visit of the exhibition so much more interesting than when it’s “just another exhibit you’ve seen”
– When you take your time to look you can feel emotions coming up