Image: Sean Scully, The Fall
Sean Scully, The Fall (1983), detail. Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, ©Sean Scully.
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Sean Scully, The Fall

3 November 2020

Here Are 14 Calming Works From Art History to Help You Relax Despite Everything Giving You Anxiety Right Now

Whichever side of the aisle you find yourself on this Election Day, you may well be feeling like American democracy hangs in the balance. Millions are marching in the streets, wildfires are burning throughout the American West, and we’ve had so many hurricanes, we’ve started naming them for Greek letters. It’s a bit stressful. So, what can we do if we’ve exercised, had a drink, seen our therapist, and still find ourselves anxious? We have a thought: let’s look at some soothing artworks together.

For starters: You know who is known for calmness? The Buddha, who meditated so hard that he freed himself from all craving and aversion, the twin drives that, he believed, make us so miserable. So, try meditating on this rendition of the Buddha from San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum for a few minutes, and then have a look at a few more artworks that will mellow you a bit. Whether abstract artworks, views of the night sky or the ocean, sweeping landscapes, or views of quiet, homey scenes, we hope they lower your blood pressure.


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