Seeing Other Viewpoints

One of my law partners, Mike Hirschfeld, participated in a program entitled “Beyond Civility: Communication for Effective Governance.” Its purpose was to connect people from diverse viewpoints and “elevate public discourse and problem solving” by seeing an opponent’s point of view, listening, and avoiding stereotypes.

So too, paintings can connect and communicate. Whether or not we ultimately agree with the point of view, it’s a valuable exercise to step outside our own viewpoint and see another perspective.

We can think of paintings that visually invite us, for a moment, to suspend our usual viewpoints and look at things through the lens of another. They go beyond the civility of a pretty picture. They invite the viewer to look at things differently. That’s why, for example, Andrew Wyeth’s painted Christina’s World—not to paint a pretty picture, but to show something of the “world” of someone disabled by cerebral palsy:


Have you ever looked at artwork that has changed your point of view?