Assignment 3: Final revisions of essay

I gave an initial response to my tutor’s feedback on assignment 3 here. I have since then spent some time reworking and re-writing elements of the essay to try and make improvements or fill in gaps that my tutor had a highlighted.

One of the main things my tutor highlighted was ‘the need to work on integrating relevant ‘theory’ with your solid analysis’. I read Walter Benjamin’s essay, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction some time ago, but recently read Ways of Seeing by John Berger. I found within Berger’s book (which draws heavily on many of the arguments Benjamin’s essay made), much more accessible. I also found that Berger’s arguments were relevant to the assignment, particularly the issue of the distinctness of an original and the notion of a ‘language of images’. I’ve tried to incorporate these arguments in my revised essay.

My tutor also noted that Golz work (the artist whose re-appropriation I studied in my essay), was postmodernist. I had manged to get part way through reading Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction by Christopher Butler, so I carried on reading, and discovered that Golz work was a good example of postmodernism in it’s obsession with using elements from art of the past, and in it’s bid to force viewers or audiences to question art by taking elements of past movements and re-working them. Golz work also has a feminist slant to, and I found Berger and Butler both useful in explaining her effort to address the representation of women in society at the time of Vermeer and in today’s postmodernist society. I’m aware that I still don’t have a comprehensive understanding of Postmodernism but I feel like at least I’ve tried to grasp some key concepts and refer to them in a way that’s appropriate to the subject of the essay.

My tutor also noted that Golz had drawn on elements in her re-appropriation that were similar to elements seen in typical Vermeer paintings, again this highlighted to me the need for further research. I found a book in my library dedicated to Vermeer; A view of Delft Vermeer then and now, by Anthony Bailey, which me to uncover how The Girl with The Pearl Earring would’ve been seen by an audience at the time. I used this to help improve my semiotic analysis of the original. Which leads to my final point of improvement – I was encouraged to be more deliberate in my semiotic analysis, so I decided to make that the initial starting point of my re-written essay, beginning with the denotation and then moving on to the connotation of the original.

I think (at least hope), these changes and further research have made my essay much more informed. I’ve certainly tried to incorporate wider themes, refer to key course textbooks in the revised essay.

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