I love Mary Beard, and her latest study of ancient art, How Do We Look, does not disappoint. Her language is straightforward and accessible, and she always focuses on the most interesting questions: Who made this? Why? And, perhaps most importantly, how did people see it? Fascinating stuff for readers of all levels. Recommended By Leah C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
From prehistoric Mexico to modern Istanbul, Mary Beard looks beyond the familiar canon of Western imagery to explore the history of art, religion, and humanity.
Conceived as a gorgeously illustrated accompaniment to “How Do We Look” and “The Eye of Faith,” the famed Civilisations shows on PBS, renowned classicist Mary Beard has created this elegant volume on how we have looked at art. Focusing in Part I on the Olmec heads of early Mesoamerica, the colossal statues of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, and the nudes of classical Greece, Beard explores the power, hierarchy, and gender politics of the art of the ancient world, and explains how it came to define the so-called civilized world. In Part II, Beard chronicles some of the most breathtaking religious imagery ever made — whether at Angkor Wat, Ravenna, Venice, or in the art of Jewish and Islamic calligraphers — to show how all religions, ancient and modern, have faced irreconcilable problems in trying to picture the divine. With this classic volume, Beard redefines the Western-and male-centric legacies of Ernst Gombrich and Kenneth Clark.
About the Author
A professor of classics at Cambridge University, Mary Beard is the author of the best-selling SPQR and Women & Power and the National Book Critics Circle Award-nominated Confronting the Classics. A popular blogger and television personality, Beard is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books.