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Ways of Seeing

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  158,205 Ratings  ·  915 Reviews
John Berger’s Classic Text on Art
John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the (London) Sunday Times critic commented: "This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will
Paperback, 176 pages
Published 1990 by Penguin (first published 1972)
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Eunice Lipton all i can think of is amazon or some similar on-line outlet. i just noticed that it's also on-line as a pdf. it's a great book!

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Austin Kleon
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
My map of the book:

WAYS OF SEEING by John Berger
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Trevor by: Lindig Harris
Shelves: art, photography
This book is based on a television series which can be viewed on YouTube here:

This is a really remarkable series and a remarkable, although annoying, book. The book is annoying because it should have been a coffee table book with large colour photographs and large font – instead it is a Penguin paperback with a font tending towards the unreadable and grey scale reproductions of the paintings that make them almost impossible to view. This is agonising, as
May 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
First of all, this entire book is set in bold. I don't know what crazy crazyman let that through the gate at Penguin but I just felt I had to point it out right away. It's still worth reading.

4 essays and 3 pictorial essays. Really interesting stuff cutting away some of the bullshit associated with our appreciation of art. It seems like museums are doing a lot of things wrong as well as right.

Chapter on oil-painting was particularly interesting but it was the last one about advertising (or "publ
Justin Evans
Jun 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history-etc, essays
I am not the audience for this book, mainly because I've already read and more or less digested the handful of essays and ideas on which it is based. The seven chapters break down fairly simply.

1: Benjamin's 'Work of Art'--the ability to reproduce images alters the way we encounter works of art. This seems reasonable. Nobody gets to see a Giotto without having seen a reproduction first, except someone who has no interest in the Giotto in the first place. But Berger et al* go a step further: we
Ahmad Sharabiani
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Way of Seeing, John Berger
عنوان: شیوه های نگریستن؛ شیوه های دیدن؛ شیوه های نگاه؛ نویسنده: جان برگر (جان برجر)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: از ششم فوریه تا دوم مارس سال 2013 میلادی
عنوان: شیوه های نگریستن؛ نویسنده: جان برگر (جان برجر)؛ مترجم: غلامحسین فتح الله نوری؛ تهران، ویژه نگار، 1388؛ در 77 ص، مصور، شابک: 9789649461748؛ موضوع: ادراک بصری، فن، هنر، از نویسندگان قرن 20 م
عنوان: شیوه های نگاه؛ نویسنده: جان برگر (جان برجر)؛ مترجم: محمد هوشمند ویژه؛ تهران، بهجت، 1390؛ در 160 ص، مصور، رنگی؛ شابک: 978964276
May 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
2007 wrote: This book, based on a television series, explores how the art world of now has come to be by exploring what art was to humans in the past. The theories presented are very interesting and are posed with pictorial references that do very well to prove points. One interesting chapter deals exclusively with the 'Nude' in art overtime. Overtime it has been reviled, reveared, copied, censored, hidden, hoarded and abstracted. Another great chapter deals in the context in which people see ar ...more
Riku Sayuj
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rohini Nair
Recommended to Riku by: Trevor
If you are really impatient, you may go and see Trevor's brilliant review for this book. Otherwise you may wait a few weeks for mine - I don't think it would be fair to review the book without seeing the documentary.
Deborah Palmer
Jul 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book though initially written in 1972 is still relevant to the reader today especially the essays dealing with the way women are seen in society. It is composed of seven essys, four use words and images, three only images. It discusses how women are view in society with an emphasis and concentration on European or Western culture. The images are from ads and famous European paintings. Being that I work in a museum and see paintings all day long this aspect interests me in particular.

Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it

জন বারজার কয়েকদিন আগেই মারা গেলেন। পেরিফেরাল ভিশনে থাকা বিখযাত লোকের মত তার মৃতযুসংবাদ নজরে পড়ে - কিনতু তখনো তার কোন বই পড়া হয় নাই। আর সব কিছু ছাপায় তো আসলে এই বইটাই - ১৯৭২ সালে বিবিসির জনযে বানানো একটা চার পরবের পরামানযচিতর ছিল পরথমে ( পুরোটাই ইউটিউবে আছে) - পরে সেটা বের হলো পুসতকাকারে।

দুইদিন আগে Ways of Seeing হাতে পেলাম। আরট বিষয়ক বই, এতটুকু জানতাম - কিনতু ভিতরে কি আছে, কেন এই বইকে বৈপলবিক গণয করা হয়, তার কিছুই জানা ছিল না। সাতটা ছোট ছোট অধযায় আছে বইয়ে
On the top floor in the Strand Bookstore in New York, I saw a self-consciously bored worker show a struggling-to-be-bored kid with his mom to the art table. The worker was like "well, you need this, and this, and this" and I realized the kid must be in art school and the worker must have graduated pretty recently. The worker was like "have you read Ways of Seeing? By John Berger?" and wanted to have geeky enthusiasm, but kept her eyes half closed and only lifted the book two inches. The kid was ...more
Jun 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Böyle şahane bir kitabı siyah beyaz basan Metis'i kınıyorum. Tamamen tablolarla dolu bir kitabı siyah beyaz basmak... Akıl alır şey değil.
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bu kitap John Berger'in BBC'de yayımlanmış belgeselinin yazılı hali.(Tam olarak değil.) Kitapta resimler üzerinden hayatın birçok noktasına değiniliyor. Kültürümüzde tablolara karşı pek ilgi olmadığından genelde herkes yüzeysel bakar. (Ben de) Hatta birçok dizide bunun parodisi yapılmıştır. Bu kitap sayesinden eski dönem tablolarına bakışım daha da değişti. Resimlerin derinlerinde yatan ne çok anlam varmış meğersem. Dedektif gibi resimler üzerinden çıkarımlar, bu çıkarımlar üzerinden o dönemin s ...more
If you think you like looking art and going to galleries - ha - then you need to take a minute to read and listen to this conversation Berger is going to have with you.

Link to the documentary (which I definitely recommend you watch to supplement the reading of the text):

Will add my proper in-depth review of this later (as it really does deserve one). For now, I will just say that Berger makes us think: he makes us think about the impact of images, their h
Syd Amir
آیا به راستی مورخان و منتقدان، هنر را بیش از حد پیچیده و مبهم نمیکنند؟
ایا مفاهیم انتزاعی متون آکادمیک مربوط به هنر مانع از تجربه ی انضمامی و دست اول هنر نمیشوند؟ آیا مورخان نقش نظام های طبقاتی و مسایل اقتصادی، نقش امیال اقشار مرفه جامعه را در خط دهی و تولید هنر را لاپوشانی نمی کنند؟

کتاب متن پیاده و تصحیح شده یک برنامه ی تلویزیونی دهه 90 آمریکاست. نویسنده در این کتاب فارغ از پیش فرض های پیچیده، شما را به دیدار نقاشی میبرد. جایی که در لابه لای شیوه ی استادانه ی کشیدن حالات چهره پرسوناژ های قرن هفد
Malihe bayat
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
کسی که این کتاب رو بهم هدیه داد در موردش گفت که "این کتاب با تمام کم حجم و کوتاه بودنش یکی از بهترین کتاباییه که خوندم" منم در موردش همین رو میتونم بگم. کتاب شرح رک و پوست کنده ای از تصاویر به خصوص نقاشی های رنگ و روغن دوران رنسانس و ردپای سرمایه داری و قدرت طلبی (فصل ۲) و تبلیغات و تاثیرات اونها و روشی که برای جلب ببیننده استفاده میکننه(فصل ۳). از صراحت جان برجر لذت بردم. من تقریبا هر فصل رو چهار بار خوندم چون میخوام مدام یادم باشه وقتی در برابر تصویری قرار گرفتم این شیوه از نگریستن هم مد نظر د ...more
Peycho Kanev
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.
But there is also another sense in which seeing comes before words. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world; we explain that world with words, but words can never undo the fact that we are surrounded by it. The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.

* * *

Publicity is the life of this culture – in so far as without publicity capitalism could not survive – and at the same
Oct 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
A book about basic visual literacy, with 7 essays, 3 of them containing only images. It's not that he's original... he borrows a lot ideas from Walter Benjamin and Claude Levi-Strauss, but that he explains it in clear, easy language, with examples.

The chapter about oil painting was especially illuminating for me, as I had never understood how to tell a "great" oil painting from a mediocre one, having no context in which to see them. But Berger here really dissects the historical origins of the f
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ocak ayında kaybettiğimiz John Berger'in BBC için hazırladığı programın araştırma kitabı bu. İsteyenler youtube üzerinden bu 4 bölümlük mini diziyi izleyebilirler. Şahsen ben o diziyi izledikten sonra bu kitabı öğrendim. BBC serisi beni daha çok etkilese de kitap ayrıntılı bilgiler içeriyor.
Dizilere paralel şekilde 4 ana bölümü var:
Özellikle fotoğraf makinesi ve kopyalama olanaklarının artması nedeniyle imgelerin anlamının değiştiğini görüyoruz. Biricik sanat eseri kavramı artık eskisi gibi deği
Miss Ravi
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography, 1394
کتابی نبود که انتظار داشتم. درسته که دقیقاً داشت شیوههای نگریستن رو بررسی میکرد اما تحلیلهاش طوری نبود که بتونم ازش چیزی یاد بگیرم. و در آخر چیزی دستم رو بگیره. فصل اول یهجورایی ادامهای بود بر مقالهی «اثر هنری در عصر بازتولید مکانیکی»ِ والتر بنیامین که خب نمیتونم بگم چیزی هم به اون اضافه کرده بود. فصل دوم بررسی دورههای مختلف نقاشی و رویکرد نقاشها به سوژههاشون بود و فصل آخر هم به تبلیغات میپرداخت که در عین جذابیتِ متن، برای من ارضاکننده نبود. این میتونه نتیجهی خریدِ اینترنتیِ کتاب باشه بی اون که ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book contains a series of essays, all related to art. I read this collection right after having come back from London – having spent days surrounded by art works. I had a million thoughts about art itself and museums, and art works in museums. I wrote out some of my thoughts and then came across some of the same ideas in this insightful beautiful booklet. Perhaps this is why I feel so strongly towards the first of the essays.
Nevertheless, I try here to capture the essence of it, in some quo
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, fine-arts
This book really made me think about how to view art. In particular, the connection between the oil paintings of the last few hundred years and advertising images was something I had never thought about. This book also presents some insightful criticisms of the use of nudes in traditional art.
Sep 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: university

"Seeing comes before words.”

Ways of reading - - meaning/ analysis. Personal perspective and context of writing or image.

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There is a divergence between looking and seeing art and literature. Such as, if one were to apply Marxist literary criticism (Ideology) when examining a work of art. Art is in essence propaganda, thus what it represents is a statement/ critique of capitalism and social hierarchy.

If one observes the surface value or façade of art, you will instantaneously connect with it
Holly McIntyre
Dec 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
I finally pulled this "oldie but goodie" off my shelf and read it. I wish I had years ago.

Although the examples from its 1970s origin are dated, its thesis is perhaps even more valid today than then: Oil painting emerged just as the Western world entered the era of capitalism and imperialism. The technique of perspective makes the viewer the center of all he (yes, Virginia, "he") sees, just as "Western man" viewed the resources of the world. Oil paintings, therefore, became a vehicle by which We
Mar 05, 2009 rated it liked it
I read this book in an AMTRAK train from the Bay Area to Portland. It was eye-opening :). Some of the essays are pictures only, pictures of paintings. The book is a little older, to me it portrays the spirit of its time, I enjoyed quite a few surprising moments. It definitely brightened my train ride through the night. All this Marxist vocab...

As the title suggests, "Ways of Seeing" is about the ways we see. How our mind is formed through society and how this conditioning impacts on our percepti
Oct 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Read this for my Composition class. Its a great read when first read since his main ideas stand out, have clarity, and are verified (to some degree), however re-reading it introduces the more "radical" ideas.

In his essay he raises the idea of "mysticification." Which is great and all but he chooses to not define it. I had to keep going back trying to find a definition in context however failed. He seems to switch it around a lot.

My Composition professor raised a good point- Berger is so against
Michael Dipietro
Dec 19, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: aesthetics
It's been a while since I read 'Ways of Seeing' for school, but I hated it. Why? In the most simple way, because Berger talks again and again about demystification, yet I found his book to be thinly veiled Socialist propaganda. His Marxist interpretations of paintings can be extremely simplistic and one-sided - making you feel dumb for wanting to appreciate an artwork for its beauty or value as a cultural artifact. All in all, it reads like a text by a highschooler whose critical thinking isn't ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Z minulého století, z minulého tisíciletí a přesto aktuální.
Aug 25, 2017 added it
Shelves: favourites
oh. wow.
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Perhaps one of the all time must read small books ( less than 200 pages). Revisited for a reference and ended up rereading it . As fascinating as it is pioneering ( considering it was written in 1972, way back in capitalism's childhood, well before it grew up and cast it's powerful grip around the idea of human life).

Berger and co essentially chart the history of visual imagery in art, from the era of oil painting to television, slowly peeling out layer after layer teasing out the implicit mess
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A compact book filled with fantastic, radical ideas. I couldn't help admire Berger's delineation of capitalism, proprietorship, publicity, the gaze on females amongst other things. It's a remarkable book to read.
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Kitabi Keeda: Ways Of Seeing Summary 1 3 Oct 06, 2017 02:31AM  
Pictographic Essays 4 124 Dec 07, 2016 09:31AM  
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John Peter Berger was 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.

Later he was self exiled to continental Europe, living between the french Alps in summer and the suburbs of Paris in winter. Since then, his production has incre
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“You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for you own pleasure.” 367 likes
“A woman must continually watch herself. She is almost continually accompanied by her own image of herself. Whilst she is walking across a room or whilst she is weeping at the death of her father, she can scarcely avoid envisaging herself walking or weeping. From earliest childhood she has been taught and persuaded to survey herself continually. And so she comes to consider the surveyor and the surveyed within her as the two constituent yet always distinct elements of her identity as a woman. She has to survey everything she is and everything she does because how she appears to men, is of crucial importance for what is normally thought of as the success of her life. Her own sense of being in herself is supplanted by a sense of being appreciated as herself by another....

One might simplify this by saying: men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at. This determines not only most relations between men and women but also the relation of women to themselves. The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object -- and most particularly an object of vision: a sight.”
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