There are numerous ways to "see" a picture. One person's life can, and will affect the way in which they view the painting. I do not agree with Berger's way of thinking throughout "Ways of Seeing". I feel that his opinions are contradictory, and opposite of mine. .
One reason I don't like this reading is because he notes, "The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe. In the middle Ages when men believed in a physical existence in Hell, the sight of fire must have meant something different from what it means today" (106). I get from this that what he is saying is somewhat hypocritical of what he notes later in the article. Berger later states that part of the image is lost by its replication, "Having seen this reproduction (Virgin of the Rocks), one can go to the National Gallery to look at the original and there discover what the reproduction lacks" (116), the only thing the reproduction lacks is the price tag of the original. I disagree with this, if replication was not possible, people would not be able to view the piece of art and make their own conclusions of it. .
Every person, professional critic, or blue collar worker, is aloud to make their own opinion on the art. It doesn't matter who the person critiquing the art is; they are not seeing what the artist saw when he/she made it, they only think they do. Unless the artist was there to make his/her comment, then no direct conclusion could be made about a piece of art. "Even if the artist makes his comment, the viewer might see the picture differently" (Neli Gogovska), then critics like Berger should not claim to "know" what the artist was seeing, or feeling when the artist made the piece.
The art image below is of an F-4U Corsair from WWII painted by John Young. This is one of my favorite paintings. If viewed during different times of a country's state, peace time or war time, it could be seen very differently.