Look Again How to Experience the Old Masters

Ossian Ward

An approachable guide to Old Master paintings from a new perspective that offers a simple aid to looking at and demystifying the often obscure strategies of the greatest painters of all time.

This book engages with some of history’s greatest art, from the spectacular theatrics of Bosch to the luminous scenes of Giotto, and starts with the idea that the art of the past can and should be seen from the viewpoint of a contemporary observer of visual culture—rather than just an elitist, academic interpretation.

Ossian Ward’s simple, ten-step guide acts as an aid to looking at and breaking down the often obscure strategies of the Old Masters into intuitive categories—from Art as Honesty to Art as Vision. Just as contemporary art should be judged by how it moves us, cajoles our senses, and envelops us, so too can the great paintings of history be seen as immersive, captivating, and even participatory experiences.

Look Again does not deny the specific complexities and barriers associated with looking at art from other eras, instead it offers methods that not only provide the viewer with the tools to interpret the art, but also assumes that we intuitively hold some of this knowledge within ourselves already.


Ossian Ward


Ossian Ward is head of content at the Lisson Gallery. He was previously chief art critic at Time Out London, and is also the author of Ways of Looking: How to Experience Contemporary Art.