John Berger Analysis

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John Berger presents a multifaceted argument regarding art, its interpretations, and the various ways of seeing. Berger asserts that there is gap between the image that the subject sees and the one that was originally painted by the artist. Many factors influence the meaning of the image to the subject and those factors are unique to the subject themselves. Seeing is not simply a mechanical function but an interactive one. Even the vocabulary is subject to specialized scrutiny by Berger; an image is a reproduction of an original product, while only the product itself may truly be a ‘painting’. Images are seen at an arbitrary location and circumstance – they are different for everyone – while the product, which is in one place, is experienced…show more content…
He declares that there are many different ways in which a subject views a piece of art – based on everything from music to location to current emotion – and that that is not the same meaning that the artist intended. However, there are an infinite amount of factors that play into interpretation. Humans, thankfully, exhibit very different reactions to things, from likeminded to completely opposite, yet very rarely are they identical. Regardless of the outside disturbances, while unraveling the meaning behind a piece of art the different subjects will have inherently different interpretations. People may have a slightly augmented sense of a piece of art while in its physical presence but the initial reaction very often still remains. To use a personal example, for the longest time I have been underwhelmed by the so-called unparalled beauty of perhaps the world’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa. When given the opportunity to visit the Louvre in Paris I was only given, as I said, a heightened sense of my original reaction to the painting. Housed in its own personal room, implanted on an oversized white wall, hanging behind bullet proof glass case sat the painting I had seen 100,000 other times. I was dissatisfied, but with the room packed shoulder to shoulder with many others tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of Da Vinci’s masterpiece, I suppose I may have been the only one. Perhaps – which leads into Berger’s second point – all those people so eager to see the Mona Lisa had been, as he describes, “mystified.” He believes that the average art expert has the ability to blindfold the reader and transfer their assumptions onto them – which perhaps is true if the subject has no real interest in the art itself. Everything that one is told about anything with highly interpretable qualities
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