#WaysofSeeing50 #JohnBerger. Day Seven: Fine Arts and Commerce” TV progamme. 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.

1920px-Edouard_Manet_- Luncheon on the Grass -_Google_Art_ProjectEdouard Manet – Luncheon on the Grass – Google Art Project.jpg

John Berger says the nude in European oil painting is an admirable expression of European humanist spirit

A double golden shovel

Barbara Niven talks about Manet’s Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe, and John
says the nude is an expression of European humanist spirit. He says
the nude, as a result, has to survey everything she is and does, being
essence, a perfumed object to be looked at and envied.
Of being naked, that’s simply to be without clothes, but to be nude is
self-delight. To be nude is to be seen naked by others, and, a/
is to be in disguise (essential), and b/ solitary.
The awareness of being naked is revealed in form:
compulsion to shame, pinning fig leaves, modest hand gestures there-of.
To look at yourself naked in the mirror is to seek reassurance.
Make your own picture for your own pleasure and forget Manet. Make it
contact your own competitive spirit. Your beauty depends
(with what you reveal) on precisely
the way you impose yourself upon
world-ly men (all fully clothed btw). Stay anonymous and do not,
as this painting suggests, do any more over-sharing.
You, the expression of European humanist spirit, your
live pleasures are for you to experience
in private with people of your own choosing. With
it comes a certain amount of nudity and those,
to put it bluntly, moments wondering why and who.
Go-to lovers? Manet paints over them, you know. Envy
out-strips art, though I’m sure he still speaks highly of you.

-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.

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