Art State of Mind

Five Ways to Enjoy Your Vacation Time, Inspired by Art History

Rute Ferreira 7 July 2021 min Read

The first half of the year ended. It is always interesting to breathe, take stock of what we have done so far, and prepare for the second semester. For this, it is important to rest, and summer vacation seems a perfect time. Here are five tips for the holidays inspired by art history.

I love tips inspired by art history. You may want to see how to take care of your hair, how to break up, or how to be happy according to great paintings. Art deals with life all the time, and the wisdom that comes from paintings should not be ignored. But let’s get down to business. Let’s go to our five ways to enjoy the vacation time, inspired by art history!

1. Take a Family Trip

Vacation Time Inspired by Art History: Roman Selsky, Family on Vacations, c. 1975, private collection. WikiArt.
Roman Selsky, Family on Vacations, c. 1975, private collection. WikiArt.

The first advice comes from Roman Selsky (1903–1990), a Ukrainian painter who in addition to the Impressionist aesthetic also had Surrealist and Realist influences. Selsky apparently liked to travel. During his graduation at the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts, he traveled frequently to Paris, where he met and studied with Fernand Léger. In these two paintings, Selsky emphasizes the tranquillity of travelling with family – blue sky, beach, children playing, contemplative adults… And then, how about packing your bags and heading to the nearest beach (or mountains if you prefer)?

Vacation Inspired by Art History: Roman Selsky, Mother with Child at Beach, 1980s. Encyclopedia of Ukraine.
Roman Selsky, Mother with Child at Beach, 1980s. Encyclopedia of Ukraine.

2. Go Out with Your Friends or Make New Ones

Vacation Time Inspired by Art History: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, USA.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, USA.

The advice to cultivate your social life on vacation comes from one of my favorite artists, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919). Luncheon of the Boating Party is one of his most famous works. It depicts a lunch among friends on a holiday, on the banks of the River Seine. Most of the people represented in the painting were Renoir’s friends and the girl with the dog in her hands, Alice, later would be his wife.

Vacation Inspired by Art History: Pierre Auguste-Renoir, Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette, 1876. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.
Pierre Auguste-Renoir, Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette, 1876, Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France.

Renoir apparently enjoyed socializing, or at least liked to paint it. Another of his well-known pictures is Dance at Moulin de la Galette, which also portrays a lively meeting, this time on a Sunday afternoon. If you liked this painting and want to know more about it, I recommend this article (you’ll like it even more!).

I admit that I am not a very sociable person, and would hardly have endured such an afternoon as portrayed in Renoir’s paintings, but if you like to go out and have fun with your friends, this is the best tip for you.

3. Read!

Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior, Girl with a Book, between 1850 and 1899, São Paulo Museum of Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Wikimedia Commons.
Jose Ferraz de Almeida Júnior, Girl with a Book, between 1850 and 1899, São Paulo Museum of Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Well, that’s probably the advice I’m giving myself in this rest period, inspired by my fellow countryman Almeida Júnior. He was an incredible Brazilian painter, about whom I am passionate, who dealt with themes such as daily life and common people with their small tasks at a time when historical painting was at its peak. Despite this, Almeida Júnior was extremely respected and became one of the most crucial members of the Academy of Fine Arts of Brazil.

Vacation Time Inspired by Art History: Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior, Reading, 1892, São Paulo Museum of Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil. Wikimedia Commons.
Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior, Reading, 1892, São Paulo Museum of Art, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

I’m lucky to live in the country where his paintings are kept and have seen those two girls in person, and I can assure you they are fantastic. So is reading books. With which of the girls would you identify? The one who is reading while dreaming, imagining what happens in the book and lost in her own thoughts or the one reading and analyzing, while waiting for whoever is occupying the chair in front of her? Personally, I think it’s okay to be a bit of either.

4. Learn to Play an Instrument

Vacation time inspired by art: Judith Leyster, Young man playing the lute (copy of Lute Player by Frans Hals), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Judith Leyster, Young man playing the lute (copy of Lute Player by Frans Hals), Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Most people like music, that’s indisputable. And many of us have thought of learning to play an instrument, haven’t we? You can enjoy the holidays while learning to play one and make it a relaxing habit after a day of exhausting work.

Maybe these portraits of Judith Leyster will inspire you. She was a 17th-century Dutch painter and author of of the most expressive portraits of that time. It is not only the music itself that is celebrated in Leyster’s painting, but also the way of playing it.

Judith Leyster, Serenade, 1629, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Judith Leyster, Serenade, 1629, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

5. Take Better Care of Yourself

Vacation time inspired by art history: Edouard Manet, Woman Before a Mirror, 1877, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, USA.
Edouard Manet, Woman Before a Mirror, 1877, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, USA.

When was the last time you’ve had a moment only for yourself? When we talk about taking care of oneself, people generally associate it with a weekend at a spa and aesthetic treatments. It’s OK, but taking care of yourself can go beyond that, don’t you think? For example, look fondly at yourself, like the blonde lady in this Edouard Manet’s painting. At a time when social networks say that we should always be perfect (and no, we are not) it’s good to just look at oneself with affection. But not everything is about appearance. Taking care of yourself can be something that amuses you, you know, to calm your mind and heart, like blowing soap bubbles, a tip from Manet too, one of our favorite artists.

Vacation time inspired by art history: Edouard Manet, Boy Blowing Bubbles, 1867, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal.
Edouard Manet, Boy Blowing Bubbles, 1867, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, Portugal.

I hope you enjoyed my tips and will enjoy your summer free time! Tell us which tip you followed. Oh, there’s one more tip I should add: enjoy your free time by reading DailyArt Magazine and have your daily dose of art!

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