How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization, by Mary Beard
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.
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.
“Readers will be grateful to have wise, witty Beard as guide and companion... Beard is charming and insightful piece by piece.” - San Francisco Chronicle