Stage 4: Interpretive
Interpretive viewers seek a personal encounter with a work of art. Exploring the work, letting its meaning slowly unfold, they appreciate subtleties of line and shape and color. Now critical skills are put in the service of feelings and intuitions as these viewers let underlying meanings of the work what it symbolizes emerge. Each new encounter with a work of art presents a chance for new comparisons, insights, and experiences. Knowing that the work of art's identity and value are subject to reinterpretation, these viewers see their own processes subject to chance and change.
Stage IV viewers seek an encounter that is interactive and spontaneous.
- I don't think that [drawing the ideal human form] was what he really had in mind as being that important, so maybe he de-emphasized some of the features, abstracted more because he was looking for us to look at other things – she does seem to be having some trouble with her reach, closing that circle, so that adds a little stress to the picture, that's nice, it gives you so much to think about. (Matisse, Dance)
Exploring the canvas, the viewer unwraps methods and processes in a new way. She discovers new themes in a familiar composition and distinguishes subtle comparisons and contradictions.
- "It also reminds me of, I mean, I can imagine like the Suffragettes of the time just thinking this painting was so terrific. I don't know this, this is just an assumption if mine, but I think they would really like take it in, and like want it to be theirs as well, like the strength, the unity of women, sort of helping and nurturing each other in a way, sort of leading each other on a path." (Matisse, Dance)
Critical skills are put in service of feelings and intuitions, as the viewer lets the meaning of the work -- its symbols -- emerge, and with each new 'A-Ha' comes a new engagement.
- "And it's not perfect, there's like a humanity in this piece that speaks very clearly because of that irregularity in the line and the size, the proportion of each, which I'm sure means other things as well but really speak to me." (Matisse, Dance)