Monday, 26 March 2012

Task 5 - The Gaze

‘according to usage and conventions which are at last being questioned but have by no means been overcome - men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ (Berger 1972, 45, 47)

Discuss this quote with reference to one work of art and one work from the contemporary media.
The Painting Below by Hans Memling 'Vanity' (1485) communicates to it's audience on a series of levels. The painting has been created for a mans examination, During the period of time It was created the men of the world were rich and wealthy, for that reason most of the art at the time was produced by men. The models eyes are directed away from the viewer, removing the feeling of intrusion when looking at the painting. She is gazing into the mirror admiring her own reflection, lost in her own gaze, this gives the viewer the permission the appreciate her without being watched whilst you watch her. The woman seems to be pleased by her reflection, she poses in the mirror presenting herself how she wants to be seen, openly confident and expressing she wants to be seen by others.

In this situation the man is given the position of power, admiring and objectifying the female form. Nude female paintings were very popular at this time in comparison to male, treasured and hung on walls as ornaments. 'Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at’ It is apparent throughout history that men depict the perfect female form through controlling the perceptions of women in art/design and visual media.

Hans Memling 'Vanity' (1485)

The lynx Effect is something every man longs because of the connotations that come with apparently using Lynx products. The fact of the matter is, the female body is used all across the media and forms of advertising to sell us products. The advert suggests to men that just by using Lynx and being clean it will attract women to you, where as from a womans point of view they are presented with a mans idea of the perfect woman, clear skin, smooth legs etc seems a lot more work on the female behalf. The model is smiling in the direction of the viewer as If shes comfortable with people looking at her, luring in the audience in aid to sell Lynx. Alike to Hans Memling's Vanity the woman's posture is almost flaunting, as if she wants to reveal her body to you.

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