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The Sense of Sight

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  122 ratings  ·  7 reviews
With this provocative and infinitely moving collection of essays, a preeminent critic of our time responds to the profound questions posed by the visual world. For when John Berger writes about Cubism, he writes not only of Braque, Léger, Picasso, and Gris, but of that incredible moment early in this century when the world converged around a marvelouis sense of promise. Wh ...more
Paperback, 299 pages
Published November 30th 1993 by Vintage Books (first published January 12th 1986)
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Jan 26, 2008 Elise rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Elise by: everyone
I reread these essays all the time. The final essay "The Production of Reality" (Berger's description of his visit to the van Gogh museum)saved my life.
Berger is a historian,art-critic, marxist, and spriritual/moral guide.
I am pretty sure that John Berger has seen and thought about every single piece of art that has ever existed.
Salomé Jashi
The way he writes is extremely visual. it's like watching a film based on small details that make you happy out of nothing. Here's one chapter from this book

The prose of this book is unbelievably beautiful.
"All the languages of art have been developed as an attempt to transform the instantaneous into the permanent." (9)

"Art is an organized response to what nature allows us to glimpse occasionally." (9)

"In any case experience folds upon itself, refers backwards and forwards to itself through the referents of hope and fear; and, by the use of metaphor which is at the origin of language, it is continually comparing like with unlike, what is small with what is large, what is near with what is distant.
I didn't particularly enjoy the entire book. As a collection of short essays it was a little overbearing. However, two of my favorite short pieces are in the collection. Manhattan & The Theatre of Indifference, which run smoothly together in style, composition and concept. If you have not read these, they are a must, especially in the postmodern society of the 21st century.
Tyler Smith
One can only read Marxist interpretations of art for so many pages. About 150, I think. Berger is a mammoth, but I wish he'd stop letting Karl Marx tell me why Modigliani is important and just do it himself.
I'm sure I'll say this again somewhere in my reviews, but read any John Berger you can. He's fantastic. (Seminal work: Ways Of Seeing)
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John Peter Berger is an English art critic, novelist, painter and author. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is often used as a college text.
More about John Berger...
Ways of Seeing About Looking G. To the Wedding And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos

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