In this series of short videos, curators from the Ashmolean will guide you mindfully through a series of objects from the Museum's collection.

Each video begins with a 9-minute mindful awareness exercise with trained mindfulness teacher, Dr Ruth Collins.

Viewing Art Mindfully is a collaboration with the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.


Mindfulness is a state of mind characterised by an intentional focus on present moment awareness and an attitude of gentle curiosity and interest. Cultivating awareness of our moment to moment experience opens the possibility for a richer, more vivid engagement with what is happening right now.

Viewing art mindfully allows us to open our senses to what is here in front of us, anchoring our attention in what we are seeing, facilitating a more direct experience of the object, or painting we are viewing.

Each of the art pieces has been thoughtfully selected by the curators, and each script carefully crafted, to facilitate full engagement with the art object in the video. Initially, with a wide focus, but then narrowing the spotlight of attention to highlight particular aspects of the object or painting: richness of colour or texture, stillness and movement, light and shade; drawing out the subtle as well as the more obvious physical and sensory characteristics of the work.

To find out more, and for free resources, podcasts and courses, visit the website of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre.


A Study by Raphael

With Ruth Collins and Professor Catherine Whistler



A Set of Gold and Enamel Jewellery

With Ruth Collins and Matthew Winterbottom


A landscape by Claude Lorrain

With Ruth Collins and Dr Xa Sturgis