#WaysofSeeing50 #JohnBerger. Day Four: “Painting And Possessions” Photo Essay. In celebration of fifty years since John Berger’s “Ways Of Seeing” was broadcast in January 1972, I welcome writers and artworkers to join and contribute with Sarah Watkinson, Sarah Crowson, Cy Forrest, Yvonne Marjot, Anjum Wasim Dar and me in a week long look at what he had to say, and how we might ekphrastically comment on the artworks he looked at, particularly painting and photography. It would be ideal if you could read the book beforehand, but not necessary. The challenge will run from January 9th-15th, and use the artworks he used as a prompt for each day.

anjum day four

-Anjum Wasim Dar

Note: “The Procession to Calvary” was looked at by Berger in the First programme. Anjum is commenting on this in reference to chapter four’s photo essay.”

Who Owns the World?

A Golden Shovel

It’s 1519, and Magellan sets out to create a maritime trade route in
advance of the expansion of completeness and the 2014
test flight of Virgin Galactica. No one named Claudia
is involved in Magellan’s exploration, but Claudia Rankine
in her 2014 book, Citizen, An American Lyric, writes
a piece that Afua Hirsch quotes in her book Brit(ish), the
one called Race, Identity and Belonging, where Afua’s world
is redrawn when she discovers her Dutch sixth great-grandfather is
a slave trader in the Castle of Elmina and all that’s wrong
with Welzing owning her sixth great-grandmother, a slave. You
feel a sense the past is in present tense and you can’t
ignore it. John Berger in Ways of Seeing shows how Holbein put
desire for tactile possessions central to The Ambassadors, 1533, the
one where two proud men stand rigidly gazing out past
the artist, the audience, and the world onto new worlds. Behind
them, navigational instruments chart Magellan’s voyage you
feel you crowd-funded. They own the world, but I feel it’s
another way round—their world owns the viewer. Holbein turned
paint into exquisite illusions of real objects and materials your
hands will never touch. His oil paint depicts flesh
that’s real, pale and desirable, putting into
the mind of the viewer the idea that the painting is its
own Holy sponsor, its own Holy coloniser, and you will never own
it even though it hangs in the National Gallery above a cupboard.

-Cy Forrest

Bios And Links

-Cy Forrest

is from Manchester but now living in Wiltshire. Poems in The Honest Ulsterman, IceFloe Press and The Wombwell Rainbow. Poems due to appear in Stand in 2022.

Paintings Referenced in chapter four of the book of the TV series.

The Venus of Urbino by Titian, 1487 / 90- 1 576 , Uffizi , Florence
Olympia by Edouard Manet, 1832- 83, Louvre, Paris
Virgin Enthroned by Cimabue , Louvre, Paris, c.1240- 1302?
Virgin, Child and Four Angels by Piero della Francesca, 1410 / 20- 92, Williamston, Clark Art Institu te
Madonna and Child by Fra Filippo Lippi, 1457/ 8- 1504
The Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Gerard David, d.1523, National Gallery of Art Washington, Mellon Collection
The Sistine Madonna by Raphael, 1 483- 1520, Uffizi, Florence
Virgin and Child by Murillo, 1617- 82, Pitti Palace, Florence
The Pretty Baa Lambs by Ford Madox Brown , 1821- 93, Birmingham City Museum
Death of St Francis y Giotto, 1266 /7- 1337, Sta Croce, Florence
detail of Triumph of by Pieter Brueghel , 1525 / 30- 69, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
Guillotined by Theodore Gericault, 1791 – 1824, National Museum, Stockholm
Three Ages of Woman by Hans Baldung Grien, 1483- 1545, Prado, Madrid
Dead Toreador by Edouard Manet,
Still Life by Pierre Chardin, 1699 – 1779 , National Gallery , London
Still Life by Francisco Goya, 1746 – 1828 , Louvre, Paris
Still Life by Jean Baptiste Oudry, 1686- 1755 , Wallace Collection, London
Still Life by Jan Fyt, Wallace Collection, London
Daphnis and Chloe by Bianchi Ferrari, Wallace Collection , London
Venus and Mars by Piero di Cosi mo, 1462- 1521 , Gemaldegalerie, Berlin – Dahlen
Pan by Luca Signore

One thought on “#WaysofSeeing50 #JohnBerger. Day Four: “Painting And Possessions” Photo Essay. In celebration of fifty years since John Berger’s “Ways Of Seeing” was broadcast in January 1972, I welcome writers and artworkers to join and contribute with Sarah Watkinson, Sarah Crowson, Cy Forrest, Yvonne Marjot, Anjum Wasim Dar and me in a week long look at what he had to say, and how we might ekphrastically comment on the artworks he looked at, particularly painting and photography. It would be ideal if you could read the book beforehand, but not necessary. The challenge will run from January 9th-15th, and use the artworks he used as a prompt for each day.

  1. Pingback: #WaysofSeeing50 #JohnBerger. Day Four: “Painting And Possessions” Photo Essay. In celebration of fifty years since John Berger’s “Ways Of Seeing” was… – Cy Forrest

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