John Berger presents art history in a way that challenged and critiqued traditional views of art. What stuck with me the most from the series was the way he talked about gaze in nude paintings. Nude paintings systematically objectify women and that legacy has been carried into photography. In modern media, I’ve heard people talk about how some male artists works’ only contain portrayals of women. They create an idea of a woman: serene, quiet, subdued. This is mentioned by Berger when he says “men act while women appear.”
Berger also touches on the influence of capitalism on the art world. Art allows you to construct a reality, a reality that you can sell to a consumer. To be able to control your reality is only something the wealthy can afford, proven through the history of oil painting. In this individualist culture, we are mi
I think what Berger teaches us is to be cautious of our consumption. Every work we see is layered with history and meaning, good or bad. Art can influence our choices and beliefs subconsciously, normalizing concepts of questionable moral standing.