My Blog

September 20, 2006

Second Reading Questions for “Ways of Seeing”

Filed under: Uncategorized — krysta @ 6:27 pm

The definition of Mystify is to utterly bewilder or perplex (someone). This is a great explanation as to why mystification is a means of control and power. If an educated, art historian mystifies a painting they are creating the moment for you. However they are never going to succeed in portraying the right emotions and surroundings that were occuring at that moment in time when the painting, or form of art actually took place. Mystification of art almost always takes place, because someone always feels the need to make a strong interpretation for everyone else, before even they get to see it on their own. The most common example of this would be with the Mona Lisa. There were may views already formed, like is she smirking? or who she is representing, so the viewer does not get to think of their own interpretation but only contemplates on the on the ideas already made. There is great control in being able to mystify art, becauase the words try to explain the picture but they will never do it justice.

Now-a-days many learnt assumptions have been put into our heads about viewing art. As Berger states, these assumptions are Beauty, Truth, Genius, Civilization, Form, Status, and Taste. We go about looking at art, already knowing what we are looking for. Although, these assumptions obscure the past, and proceed to “mystify rather than clarify.” I believe that there is no exact way to be able to clarify what the art work is about. Only the artist will ever know exactly what was going on, and what emotions went into the specific piece of work. Words are descriptive, and can sometimes hit emotion but hardly do they ever have the exact effect on the viewer as what the artist had experienced. Mystification should be about wonder, but instead it also makes advances towards what you are supposed to feel when observing art.



  1. I agree with you second question’s answer completely. Everyone who views the work has a different idea of what it is supposed to mean but only the artist understands fully. This mystification of the meaning is what draws people to art as they search for the true,deeper meaning.

    Comment by MikeBrouillette — September 20, 2006 @ 10:06 pm

  2. Krysta,

    I really like how you go into great depth with the explanation of “mystify.” Also, I think you really grasp what Berger is saying when he explains how people misinterpret art. Nice job 🙂


    Comment by kkey — September 20, 2006 @ 10:08 pm

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