Continuing one of my favourite themes - why should we care about art - research out of Norway (conveniently summarized by LiveScience.com) discovered that, even when you control for socioeconomic factors like income and education, participation in cultural activities is good for one's health. Even better, you don't actually have to be an active creator of art. "Receptive culture", in which you absorb art created by someone else - such as visiting galleries or watching musicals - was associated with good health... in men.
The study author Koenraad Cypers noted:
Men seemed to get more of a perceived health benefit from being involved in different receptive cultural activities than women did.
For both genders. the more activities in which a person participated, the happier they tended to be.
Why the added benefit for men with regards to receptive culture benefits? The author didn't know without further investigations. Nonetheless, with over 50,000 subjects in the study, I'd say they're on to something.
Here's an experiment: ladies (and men), next time your sweetheart is being a real grump, take him to a museum and let me know how that goes.
P.S. Perhaps the most important question with regard to the LiveScience.com article is how the heck did the guy in the photo enjoy the Mona Lisa without being swallowed by hundreds of other viewers?!