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An Insight into Berger's Analysis of Holbein's Ambassadors - Essay Example

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An insight into Berger’s analysis of Holbein’s Ambassadors. Introduction: Berger’s analysis of Holbein’s “Ambassadors” in his Ways of Seeing shows him as an observer who gives importance to the cultural, historical, political and economic background of the Renaissance…
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An Insight into Berger's Analysis of Holbein's Ambassadors

Download file to see previous pages... He feels that the spectators should understand the difference between the art and the viewers that helps them to distinguish between reality and illusion. However, his understanding has given more meaning to the art. Thesis: Art is a form of representation of current life style. It means reflecting all the social aspects from social to political, is what Berger’s analyses. As far as Holbein’s Ambassadors is concerned, Berger is straight forward in clearly illuminating the notion of slave trade, colonialism and sexual domination. His observation also shows that he is not behind illusion. He clearly illustrates the truth of art that carries just the illusion. But the same art gives more implications apart from being a form of painting. Berger’s initial step in analysing begins with a hint about the oil painting tradition of the Renaissance. He then points out how the trend of art that took different meaning under the power of modern advertising and wealth of the ruling class. Berger is keen in focusing on the individualism or male dominance, class bias, etc. He makes a remark that any work of art of any era tends to reflect the expectations and demands of the ruling class. Art history confuses the meaning of an art work then reveals its real politics. Due to this opinion he refers to the texture, flooring, clothing, objects as part of the wealthy and capitalistic class and their interest. At this point it appears true that the art of Ambassadors does not show any emphasis on the other common people, expect the skull that has been presented in an abnormal fashion. Berger would like to interpret the skull image as highly mystical. Mystical might also refer to the slave trade during that period. When content appears less important, the techniques used in the art justifies the commercial aspect, for example the texture of the cloth, instruments and books used by the Ambassadors etc. This quality isolates the work from other oil painting art. Difficult explanation of surfaces and fabric in the painting focusing on the wealth is an indication of the demands made for the artist. So, the artist had to concentrate on the status of the men portrayed rather than pertaining to art. Aydemir supports this aspect by referring to the cool position of the men in the art as “a specific modality of the self-display of masculinity, of appearing as recognizably masculine without too hard, without the effort tainting the projected image” [p-60] When we look at the Ambassadors from the viewpoint of what it conveys about society, such as the look of men or what their eyes conveys, the relationship between them and the things surrounded by them will make a different impact to the readers. In such a condition, the inspiration to touch and feel will not dominate. Berger’s interpretation on the relation between the men and the rest of the world, says that they focus on something of which they are not interested. The objects between them were intended to explain their position in the world. When years pass by the tradition transforms to different standards. So our interpretation also changes according to the contemporary knowledge. This point too appears to be acceptable though the artistic features have not been interpreted here. Berger seems to consider the appreciation of art only as a transmission of emotion. The emotion is then provoked by the image from the perspective of past experience. Hence artistic appreciation is limited in his analysis. The pictures ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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