How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization

How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization Review

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.

Title:How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Vipassana

    How Do We Look is based off Mary Beard's BBC documentary, Civilisations. That makes it slightly janky as a book but still very informative. Probably would have done better in the coffee table format b...

  • Chris

    When the more recent Civilization was shown on PBS, they edited it a bit from the British version because we can’t have nice things in America since we elected an orange. But they edited out much Ma...

  • Bettie?

    watch here1: The first film by Simon Schama looks at the formative role art and the creative imagination have played in the forging of humanity itself.2: Mary Beard explores images of the human body ...

  • Margaret Sankey

    A beautiful and witty art survey, about one of my favorite subjects--people and how they represent themselves. What does it mean politically and socially to be painted "warts and all," or as a hundred...

  • Annikky

    Very accessible, maybe even too light and brief, but still so many lovely nuggets of insight....

  • Charlotte

    Reminds me of why I miss my University days. Mary Beard gives us enough information to spark our interest but not so much that it exhausts our appetite for the subject. We aren’t being thrust inform...

  • Joshua

    How Do We Look offers the reader a question well worth exploring: how do humans use art to explain how they think and feel about themselves. This is a question stolen directly from an Intro to Art syl...

  • Patricia

    This was accessible and interesting, which are two things I wouldn't often say about art history. ...

  • Jon

    I remember reading last year that there was a bit of a kerfuffle about the PBS version of the BBC's new Civilisations series--that the shows as seen in Britain had been renamed (respelled to Civilizat...

  • Melora

    I think this was a four star book. I read it three month ago -- the last book I read before we moved and I temporarily gave up reading. Mary Beard is always good, but that whole period is now a blur. ...