This essay is about "Ways of Seeing" by John Berger.

Essay by jll26College, UndergraduateA+, January 2004

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Questions for a Second Reading.

1.Berger's use of the word "history" always constitutes the relation and contrast between the present and it's past. He says that if we can see the present clearly enough, we shall ask the right questions of the past. "Today we see the art of the past as nobody saw it before. We actually perceive it in a different way." (p.112) Art is now a language of image. It is who uses that language and for what purpose that really makes a difference. If the new language of images were used differently, it would, through its use, confer a new kind of power.

Our fine arts were developed, their types and uses were established in times very different from the present. In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power.

What the modern means of reproduction have done is they distroyed the authority of art and removed it or its images far from true understanding of it.

Art lives not on canvas, in paint or frame, but it lives in our senses, in ourself, our future and our past. Berger might has not "discovered" the past or recognized it for exactly what it is, but in his writing he gave paintings a story. For instance, lets take Hals' Regents of the Old Men's Alms House. Berger tells a story where he establishes a relationship between the Governors and the Governesses and Hals. When we look at the painting, "we accept it in so far as it corresponds to our own observation of people, gestures, faces, institutions. This is possible because we still live in a society of comparable social relations and...