Blog regarding the essay "Ways of Seeing," by John Berger.
â€śWays of Seeingâ€? Blog
I thought that the essay, â€śWays of Seeingâ€? by John Berger was a truly interesting essay; it challenged my current perceptions regarding art, and persuaded me on several issues, and, for the most part, I agreed with Berger.
I found one of Bergerâ€™s points especially enthralling: the history of a painting, or the context in which it was painted can completely change its meaning. To illustrate his point, he displayed a Van Gogh painting entitled â€śWheatfield with Crows.â€? At first, I didnâ€™t think much of the painting; however, on the following page, the painting was displayed again, but with the following written under it: this is the last picture that Vincent Van Gogh painted before he killed himself. The simple, aforementioned sentence completely changed my perception of the painting. The painting now appeared ominous, and depressing. I also noticed the path that ends at the horizon of the painting. I found this experience to be somewhat amazing because I had never really even thought about how words can completely change the meaning of something. Bergerâ€™s example was somewhat ingenious in its simplicity, and it made me think that a majority of my perceptions are far from organic, and probably tainted.
I also agree with Berger regarding the value of paintings. Basically, Berger states that a paintings spiritual/emotional value is synonymous with its market value. I found this to be extremely cynical, but also true. In my opinion, the â€śMona Lisaâ€? is not an exceptional painting. There are millions of paintings that exceed the â€śMona Lisaâ€? in poignancy. In fact, the kid that sat next to me in my high-school art class could paint more meaningful pictures. However, many people are enthralled by the painting because it is worth a huge amount of money.
Essentially, I enjoyed this essay because Berger did not tip-toe around issues that may be sensitive for some people. He may be a little arrogant, and eccentric, but he made his points, and supported them with evidence. What more can one ask for in an essay?