The Many Ways of Seeing Essay - Critical Essays

Analysis

The title of this book, The Many Ways of Seeing, succinctly expresses the author’s purpose and approach, which is to provide a variety of ways that readers can sharpen their “visual awareness.” Thus, the chapters are rather short and offer many different ways to cultivate and heighten visual acuity.

One approach that Moore uses is straightforward textual discussion and explanation. This technique is particularly well suited to conveying basic information about the visual arts. The chapter on the visual elements of line, color, and form and the chapter on the materials and techniques of artists are thorough and clear. Ample illustrations are provided so that each element, material, and technique can be viewed along with the textual discussion.

Similarly, several chapters focus on particular artworks in order to illustrate the special ways that artists present their ideas. The comparison between the landscapes by Van Gogh and Cézanne in chapter 3 shows how different artists approach the same basic subject and composition with strikingly different results. Chapter 5, on ways in which artists change their styles and present challenges to viewers, offers a brief history of the developments in Western art over the previous 150 years.

A second major technique that Moore utilizes is providing actual exercises for readers to follow. In chapter 4, she demonstrates how readers can study the composition of paintings by creating...

(The entire section is 404 words.)