Tuesday, February 7, 2017

John Berger / Ways of Seeing

In "Ways of Seeing," John Berger focuses on perspective and how many people can see the same images now due to reproduction, but the meaning of those images change over time.  I liked when Berger was talking about the reproduction of a painting by Brueghel of The Road To Calvary.  The whole painting shows Mary, John, and the mourners of Christ and evokes feelings of grief and torture.  Berger then zooms in on certain areas of the painting to show that there are many different meanings present in one piece of art.  Some of the themes he listed were devotion, landscape, social customs, etc.  Berger states that this painting can be presented as a story and I agree with him.  This painting is cool because I imagine anyone can look at it and develop stories for every person in the painting or at least relate it to something that is happening in their own life.  When I look at this painting, without zooming in on certain areas, I think of what is currently happening in America right now.  The people in the bottom right corner of the painting are clearly grieving and this reminds me of all the people who are very upset about Donald Trump being our president.  This also reminds me of all the immigrants in our country who are worried that they may never be able to see their family members again or who may be forced to leave America.  I think this painting relates to a lot of the problems in our society today. 

I also really liked when Berger was with the kids and asked them what they thought of Caravaggio's painting and whether they thought the center person was male or female.  When I first looked at this painting, I thought the person in the center was a woman because of the soft features of the face.  But, when the one kid suggested that the person in the center might be Jesus, I immediately agreed with him.  The positioning of the person in the center of the table and the outfit the person is wearing reminds me of Jesus, just because I feel like I have seen paintings before that look very similar.  The men also seem interested in what the person in the center is saying because they are all facing him and either arguing with him or listening to him.  I like the darkness of this painting and how it seems like the men are in a private location where they can only talk by candlelight.  The colors in this painting are very deep and rich and I like how the table cloth is very bright and you can see all the details in the food on the table.  

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