Mary Beard

The Northern Star - - WEEKEND - BARRY REYNOLDS Just heav­enly VER­DICT:

British his­to­rian and clas­si­cist Mary Beard has been in front of the cam­eras for less than 10 years, but she has built up a for­mi­da­ble doc­u­men­tary port­fo­lio to go with aca­demic mono­graphs. This is a com­pan­ion piece to the nine-part BBC se­ries, Civilisations (con­tin­u­ing 1969’s Civil­i­sa­tion pre­sented by Ken­neth Clark), of which she is a pre­sen­ter. In this beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated book of two parts, she traces the early his­tory of how artists have pic­tured the hu­man — How Do We Look — and the divine — Eye of Faith. Beard has be­come pop­u­lar be­cause the Cam­bridge clas­sics pro­fes­sor has a knack of ex­plain­ing the com­plex in terms gen­eral read­ers can un­der­stand with­out feel­ing con­de­scended to. All she asks is that you think. For those who find this book a taster to wider study, an ex­ten­sive “fur­ther read­ing” sec­tion shows how clever Beard has been in con­dens­ing cen­turies of study and ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

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