In classical painting composition the artist’s licence allowed, even expected, oblique references to mythical or historical events that gave substance to the art and that a cognoscenti of viewers would be able to understand as a statement of wit, learning or even profundity. Sometimes, the artist might overlay that meaning with a more subtlety coded meaning of his own. The famous book and TV series of 1972 by John Berger titled: Ways of Seeing unlocked this aspect of art for ordinary viewers who, perhaps for the first time, could begin to appreciate meaning in art.
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