Why ‘know thyself’ can be a helpful mantra for choosing your next art piece

“It is up to each person to recognize his or her true preferences.” – Isabel Briggs Myers


Personality Types

We all have our own, unique personalities. The art work we choose to hang in our home can be a very intimate reflection of our personality traits.

Have you taken the time to investigate your personality type, and know yourself a little bit better? Many people have tried to quantify their internal lives. This has resulted in different scales and tests to reach a place of understanding. 

You may have heard of the very popular Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). This personality inventory helps to make the psychological types described by Carl Jung useful in people’s lives. For example, it shows which careers you might enjoy most.  Questions rank you on a scale of Judging versus Perceiving and Sensing versus Intuition.

We can experiment with extending these kinds of tests to our preferences for visual art.


Personalities and Art Preferences

Have you ever considered how your personal experience and understanding of the world dictates your love of certain art works?

To investigate this idea, the Artistic Preferences Scale attempts to measure what people like about visual art. The Scale was first created in 2014 and has been online collecting data ever since.

Analysis of the data revealed three key factors which influenced personal preference in art.

Your rankings will show your personal preferences in art on the following scales:

  1. Linear versus Painterly: In linear works, the artist depicts clear shapes bounded by lines. These works achieve a kind of photorealism. In the painterly style, the brush strokes will be more visible.
  2. Realistic versus Abstract: Realistic works of art will provide an impression of social reality. Abstract works allow the viewer to draw inspiration from the shape, colour, and texture of the objects.
  3. Masculine versus Feminine: Is the content of the art work of greater interest to males or females? This draws on stereotypes.

The test takes at most, 5 minutes to complete. It consists of 30 pairs of paintings which the user ranks on a scale of preference. You can take the test for educational purposes: https://openpsychometrics.org/tests/APS/

You may find that taking this test a few times will result in different outcomes. The test will present you with different combinations of the art pieces each time.

This can help you to identify any commonalities which remain true for you each time you take the test. For example, it may be that the one thing which remains true for your personality is your preference for Abstract art works.

This could help to guide your next art purchase. You may gain a little bit more insight into what will give you an enduring feeling of joy and ‘rightness’ for your personality type. Give this test a try and share with a friend to compare!