Art and empathy: the undeniable connection

Art and empathy
Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette, Vincent van Gogh

I’ve always said that we as humans are guided by feelings and this is why we are prone to take things personally and have an emotional response rather than a rational one. There is nothing wrong with that, being sensitive and intuitive is a strength and something that we used in order to survive in nature back in the day.

The undeniable connection between art and empathy  

I think that there is an undeniable connection between art and empathy. Let’s take the example of a movie that has a double entendre. That movie would be nothing without our personal interpretations. A painting would be just some colors on a canvas, a song would be just background noise, a book would be just some random words written on a paper without our emotional response. This is why I think that art accesses our emotional intelligence and empathy.  

We also respond empathically to what we think the artist is experiencing in their head. So, we have this psychoanalytic approach, we have the capability to tell what the artist wants to convey through that his art and where it’s come from.   

There are people with autism which is a disorder characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. Thus, it pretty much impacts your social life. Without social interaction people can’t empathize with the person with whose face they’re looking at. Actually, most autistic people don’t have a beholder share and they don’t participate in the social interaction that’s involved in looking at a painting. There is a piece of art. Art is not complete without the viewer’s response and interpretation.

Personally, I think that art is a powerful tool and can help individuals regulate emotions because this is what it does to me. It makes me feel emotions I’ve never felt before and gives me more perspectives than I would usually have. This is why I believe that art evokes empathy.


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