Form and Content

(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The Many Ways of Seeing: An Introduction to the Pleasures of Art presents its contents in several forms and sections. Following an introduction, Janet Gaylord Moore divides the subject matter into ten chapters dealing with various aspects about the visual arts, ranging from a viewer’s perceptions to the media that artists use to produce art objects. Between chapter 5 and chapter 6, an “Interlude” is inserted. This section juxtaposes reproductions of artworks with various literary quotations, which are not about the specific pieces of art but rather that serve as textual complements to the visual images. Endnotes document references in the text, and a bibliography of suggestions for further reading enables the reader to pursue topics of interest.

The first two chapters concern general aspects of perception. The author begins by suggesting ways that readers can open their eyes to visual phenomena around them. She shows how to see visual patterns in nature and how to use different perspectives to see new things in ordinary objects. Moore then turns in the second chapter to various artworks to demonstrate how artists and their artworks help one to see the world with a fresh vision. For example, many modern paintings such as the rectangular blocks of color painted by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian have influenced the modern design of everyday objects.

The third chapter turns to paintings and offers some guidance about how to approach looking at these visual images. Moore uses the example of landscapes by two late nineteenth century artists, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cézanne. Van Gogh’s paintings are direct and vibrant, while Cézanne’s depiction of similar landscapes are more carefully orchestrated and controlled through his use of planes of color to construct the formal elements of the landscape.

The fourth chapter...

(The entire section is 764 words.)