Summer by Auguste Renoir
Don’t Judge A Painting By It’s… Cover?
In John Berger’s essay Ways of Seeing he focused on how people perceive paintings and often only take them at face value, thus often misinterpreting the meaning of the paintings. He encourages the viewer to dive into the work of the artist and soak in all the details and challenges the viewer to review all the possible meanings to them so they get a greater understanding of what the artist is trying to convey via paint and ink. Berger’s model for painting interpretation seemed interesting to me because with this sort of interpretation it reminds me of a test question where most students are told to go with their first impression because it is often correct, whereas Berger encourages you to come up with multiple theories surrounding the paintings meaning or underlying message. The essay states that “we never look at just one thing; we are always looking at the relationship between things and ourselves” and the way I interpreted this is that Berger wants us to absorb the whole painting and not just the main bullet point of it, because there would be many critical details that the observer would potentially miss that could very well alter his or her view or opinion on the painting. And even though Berger also talks about copies of paintings and how they are inferior I believe the underlying meaning of his essay was what I have stated so far.
The painting I chose to interpret was Summer by Auguste Renoir. It is a painting of a young woman in summer garb posing for a portrait. At first glance the painting appears no different than the thousands of other portraits of the world, but when I took a closer look like the essay suggested we do I noticed some strange and very interesting facts about it but first lets talk a little about the artist. Auguste Renoir was born in 1841, died in 1919, was a French artist, and one of the leading artists in developing the Impressionist...