Don’t be afraid to go large, says our art expert
Art is created to be seen, argues Anthony Smith, so don’t be afraid to go large
It’s always interesting to see the single item that makes a difference when viewing interior photographs of say a celebrity’s home or perhaps a home decorated by a professional interior designer and the one that appears in say the average ‘home for sale’ interior shot.
It’s always artwork and 99 times out of 100, it’s the size of that artwork.
Large, commanding and striking artworks always change the dynamic of any room in which they hang whereas small paintings, if not grouped together, appear to be lonely and frankly sad. Lost.
Such small, single works make a room feel empty and without warmth or a heart... in fact they amplify the feeling of emptiness.
I recently skimmed through a leading interior design journal from the US. Trophy art was in abundance.
Big expensive art by big names filled the walls, some to the point of being excessive. Yet the owners seemed proud of their collections, whether they had developed these collections themselves or had someone do it for them (a topic for another day).
On one double page spread there was a small painting – my guess would be eight inches square – above a large king-sized bed. It was quite odd to see and the first thing that came to mind was ‘why would you do that?’
The work was too small to be seen unless you actually stood on the bed, so it was there simply for effect, but certainly not impact. But its positioning negated the artistic value of the work to merely one of an object placed to achieve an effect. This was sad.
Artworks are created to be seen and ideally to touch the viewer emotionally in some way.
Many people seem a bit reluctant to hang a large work and I always wonder why? Perhaps there’s a feeling that a large work will dominate the
room, but surely a fine painting will enhance a room, as well as the wall its placed on?
It’s certainly how I feel. There also may be a feeling that if the painting is large and really doesn’t work in the room that it would be a continual reminder of a bad purchase, but most galleries would offer you a replacement or refund if the art you just purchased didn’t work in the space it was intended for.
I need to have artwork surrounding me in my daily life and home. I am slowly renovating my office (very slowly) but I visualised a particular work from our collection on the wall before I started, so much so that I had to hang it before the room is even painted!
As you could imagine from this month’s theme, it is a large work and fills the wall but works brilliantly in the room. (See the image above – oh, and please don’t be concerned about it being over a radiator!)
Next time you’re looking through a magazine, please take time to notice the artworks in the featured rooms. Most often a large work is simply perfect and enhances, rather than dominates a room.
ABOVE: Morrison by Douglas Stewart. This 48in x 72in oil on canvas is a powerful piece which works in the space it has been given in Anthony’s office