Landscapes: John Berger on Art

Landscapes : John Berger on Art, edited by Tom Overton is a collection of essays by art critic, novelist, poet, and artist John Berger written over the past 60 plus years. However both the title and the cover art – a painting of a landscape – led me to think it would discuss landscapes. But I should have taken more note of this sentence in the blurb-‘Landscapes offers a tour of the history of art, but not as you know it.‘ It is definitely not art as I know it but it is a “landscape” of Berger’s thoughts on his life, on people and ideas that have influenced him, artists and authors that he liked and disliked, with very little in it about landscapes. There are essays on his life, people, ideology, philosophy and on art history and theory about the nature and meaning of art.

Having said that there are sections that I liked and enjoyed, such as the chapters on The Ideal Critic and the Fighting Critic and on Cubism. Knowing next to nothing about cubism and not liking the cubist paintings I have seen, I think I now understand what the artists were attempting, moving away from art that imitated nature to their representation of reality on a two dimensional plane to portray a more complex image of reality.

I am obviously not the target audience for this book!

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1131 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (1 Nov. 2016)

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley.

4 thoughts on “Landscapes: John Berger on Art

  1. Ha! Yes, the cover is gorgeous but a bit misleading – one of the major drawbacks of NetGalley is not being able to look inside before requesting. Even a quick look at the index can be useful in knowing whether a book is “for” us or not. But I’m glad you found some of it interesting anyway… 🙂


    1. That is one of the drawbacks of Netgalley! I’ve only just started using it and am still finding my way round. What made it worse for me is that Landscapes was only available for a limited time as a PDF – and I don’t like reading a book on the PC and there were other books that I wanted to read before it, especially when it wasn’t that interesting. I think I saw on your blog that you have a backlog of books from NG to read – does that affect your chances of getting a book when you make a request?


  2. Margaret, there was a documentary on BBC4 last night (Sunday eve) about John Berger. Did you see it? I planned to record it and promptly forgot. But there’s always i-player 🙂


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