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👀 Exercise: Sharpen Your Visual Perception
A practice to slow down and notice the details that are easily overlooked.
Saper vedere or ‘knowing how to see’, was the concept Leonardo da Vinci attributed all his scientific and artistic accomplishments.
Today, I’m bringing back the fun exercise of observing the details of a piece of art. The goal of this exercise is to improve your visual perception skills so you can start noticing both the small and big details, the obvious and the subtle details, that are easily missed.
As Albert Szent-Györgyi, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, said,
“Discovery consists of seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”
As you move fast throughout the day from one task to the next, it is a good reminder to slow down and observe what is right in front of you. To really see and not gloss over important details.
Each time I do this exercise I surprise myself and realize how much information I overlook when I look quickly instead of slowing down to notice the details.
I think this exercise will surprise you, and over time you will strengthen your visual perception so you don’t miss important details that are right in front of you and see what others easily overlook. Your future self will thank you.
Observe the image below. Notice all the details
Challenge yourself to list as many details as you can. Look for objects, people, shapes, colors, patterns, etc.
Be as specific in your observations as possible. For example, instead of a bear, you can say a small brown bear next to the woman facing the left with its head down.
Optional: Share your list in the comments. Let’s see how many things you found.
Trade cards from the "Flags of the States and Territories" series (N11), issued in 1888 in a set of 47 cards to promote Allen & Ginter brand cigarettes. There are also approximately 100 scroll color variations. The museum's collection contains the full set of 47 cards, as well as 54 scroll color variations and one cutout card.
That’s it! How did it go? How many details were you able to notice? Share your thoughts or observations in the comments.
Thanks for taking the time to do this exercise.
I hope you have a wonderful day.