In John Berger's "Ways of Seeing," he discusses the mystification of art. Art tends to be a pleasure that one must interpret for themselves by getting the art to speak. Art is mystified, meaning that it is impossible to understand art and know its history without also understanding the present, and that whatever we see corresponds to our perspective and what we previously know about our art experiences. However, to demystify and interpret a meaning depends on what questions the painting is approached with in order to turn a silent painting into one that intrigues the viewer and entices conversation. When interpreting paintings, it is important that the silence is removed so that the viewer is no longer mystified by the silence and stillness and is able to successfully form a relationship with the artwork. Berger claims that the way to demystify and make these paintings speak is to learn to ask "the right questions of the past" (167). To experience this demystification for myself, I faced hundreds of paintings and began this process by choosing a painting by Edward Richard Miller, titled Sunbath. .
Sunbath shows a young woman in tranquility while deep in thought. This painting captures a lot of natural light, colorful gardens, and a contrasting violet and yellow color palette. This piece is roughly 3 feet by 3.5 feet, and has a lot of texture due to the oil paint that is used. The short diagonal brushstrokes are smeared together to form a picture of a woman glancing at her reflection through a handheld mirror while sitting at her vanity. Miller uses variations of .
color to portray different shades of light coming through the woman's window. For example, outside of the window is very light so there are many shades of yellow and white used to represent that, while the room that the woman is in is actually very dark. While I looked at the woman's reflection, I saw that the mirror was a very dark purple and black, indicating that the room behind her was dark.