Civilisations: How Do We Look / The Eye of Faith: As seen on TV

Civilisations: How Do We Look / The Eye of Faith: As seen on TV

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Title:Civilisations: How Do We Look / The Eye of Faith: As seen on TV
Author:Mary Beard
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Civilisations: How Do We Look / The Eye of Faith: As seen on TV Reviews

  • 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 information that’s purely black and white, this means this and that is that, but being gently guided to ask questions, explore ideas and think more deeply for ourselves.

    Plain speaking and very accessible, touching on a broad range for the length of the book, I hadn’t really planned to blitz through in one s

    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 information that’s purely black and white, this means this and that is that, but being gently guided to ask questions, explore ideas and think more deeply for ourselves.

    Plain speaking and very accessible, touching on a broad range for the length of the book, I hadn’t really planned to blitz through in one sitting (having grabbed it on impulse at the supermarket and getting absorbed into the introduction whilst the groceries were still being rung up - sorry cashier!) but the end snuck up on me. This read had all the same post-seminar learning buzz of yesteryears, leaving me all kinds of nostalgic and a little heartbroken. And, possibly, a little too blissed out over the chapter bibliographies in those final two dozen pages.

    Divided into two halves, as titled, How We Look (5*) and The Eye of Faith (4*), I couldn’t bring myself to give this less than top marks for the final verdict. Stunningly presented, beautiful colour photographs throughout and paperstock that makes my inner book nerd’s toes curl... All in, if the topic floats your boat, you’ll be missing out if you pass this by. Gem.

  • Kate Page

    I really enjoyed this. Mary Beard is always interesting and accessible. I read this in a couple of hours, but it raises questions and issues that have stayed with me for much longer. It is basically the script of her contributions to the 2018 Civilisations programmes. The book itself is nicely presented and not overly expensive, with good image quality.

  • James Lancaster

    Very quick read, with beautiful photographs of the various monuments and works presented in the show. I love Mary Beard's work, but her style seems to clash with the more formal approach taken by Kenneth Clark in the first series and Schama and Olusoga's episodes. However, for this review, considering the book on it's own and not the series associated with it. Is a nice, breezy tour through ancient and medieval art with a brief explanation of the theory behind their presentation. While i think i

    Very quick read, with beautiful photographs of the various monuments and works presented in the show. I love Mary Beard's work, but her style seems to clash with the more formal approach taken by Kenneth Clark in the first series and Schama and Olusoga's episodes. However, for this review, considering the book on it's own and not the series associated with it. Is a nice, breezy tour through ancient and medieval art with a brief explanation of the theory behind their presentation. While i think it's better done in the show, I still enjoyed sitting down with this book. As it is a very relaxing read, that's accessible to a fairly large audience.

  • Annikky

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

  • Bettie☯

    1: 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 in ancient art, from Mexico and Greece to Egypt and China

    3: Simon Schama explores the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature

    4: Professor Mary Beard explores the controversial topic of religion and art. How, and at what

    1: 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 in ancient art, from Mexico and Greece to Egypt and China

    3: Simon Schama explores the depiction of nature. Simon discovers that landscape painting is seldom a straightforward description of observed nature

    4: Professor Mary Beard explores the controversial topic of religion and art. How, and at what cost, do different religions make the unseen visible?

    5: Simon Schama examines how the role of artists from the different traditions of West and East developed in the years that followed the Renaissances

    6: In the 15th and 16th centuries distant and disparate cultures met, often for the first time. David Olusoga shows art was always on the frontline

    7: Simon Schama starts his meditation on colour and civilisation with the great Gothic cathedrals of Amiens and Chartres.

    8: David Olusoga explores the artistic reaction to imperialism in the 19th century

    9: In the final programme Simon Schama explores the fate of art in the machine and profit-driven world

  • Jo-Ann Duff (Duffy The Writer)

    If you love a good history documentary, you are likely to have watched one presented by Mary Beard. Mary is a professor of classics and has world-wide academic acclaim. She is regularly on television, written some best selling books on ancient Rome, and also more recently, and disappointingly been the target of some pretty crappy internet trolling. I won’t give those comments and stories any credit here. Instead, I will just talk about this wonderful book, which accompanies the incredibly intere

    If you love a good history documentary, you are likely to have watched one presented by Mary Beard. Mary is a professor of classics and has world-wide academic acclaim. She is regularly on television, written some best selling books on ancient Rome, and also more recently, and disappointingly been the target of some pretty crappy internet trolling. I won’t give those comments and stories any credit here. Instead, I will just talk about this wonderful book, which accompanies the incredibly interesting BBC series, Civilisations.

    The Eye Of Faith is in two parts. The first shows us how the human body was represented and displayed in ancient art and how this changed through the ages. From the giant stone heads carved by the Olmec in Central America to the fluid statues full of movement and incredible detail created by the Greeks and the enigmatic terracotta army commissioned by the first emperor of China. The second part of the book delves into art and religion. The wonder of the Ankor Wat, the huge Christian mosaics and iconography such as the crying Virgin Mary of Seville.

    Mary Beard takes a step back with these examples of ancient art and steers us away from putting our modern day points of view on them, or delving too deeply for meaning and making assumptions. When writing about the giant statues of Ramses II, arguably one of the most famous Pharaoh’s in history with either the biggest ego or biggest insecurity, Mary reminds us that not all ancient people would’ve been submissive and towed the line.

    ‘Ancient viewers were not all naive consumers of any message that was thrown at them. Even if some would have looked on these statues in awe and wonderment it is a fair guess that others would have walked by and laughed, or even spat.’

    Today, most of us in the western world laugh when Putin wrestles a bear or rides a horse topless to show off his power and masculinity, why would that be different back then?

    Even taking a look at something as simple as Greek pottery can demonstrate the power of art. The pottery used in the kitchen by women usually depicted a woman holding a child and making wool. Two key achievements for any roman wife. Whereas the men’s drinking pots show slaves at half the size of their masters and much merriment, drunkenness and nakedness, or manly pursuits such as stoking a fire.

    For the great leaders of history, art and grand statues were part of the propaganda machine. More art and gigantic statues were erected at main town entrances, and close to palaces, courts and gathering places across all religions and ancient civilisations. Why was this? Mary takes the view that when it comes to staying at the top, you need to exert your power first to those closest to you, as they are the most likely to want to topple you.

    I would say that theory is just as true today as in ancient history. There may not be cloaks, daggers and poison, but there certainly is phone hacking, scandal and underhand tactics to topple a leader, or to gain power in unscrupulous ways.

    The Eye Of Faith is a very interesting book which will stay around on my coffee table for a while. I look forward to reading the rest in the series.

    Follow @Duffythewriter on Fbook, Insta and Twitter for all things books!

  • Lynne

    Surprisingly easy and quick read that basically covers Beard's two episodes from the recent BBC2 epic (which was brilliant). Covering a wide range of image, Beard presents an analysis of how numerous works of art from pre-history, Ancient Greece, Central and Southern America, China have depicted the changing form of the human body.

    The second part deals with images of gods and God, again drawing from classical antiquity, stunning Islamic calligraphy and Byzantine iconography amongst others.

    High

    Surprisingly easy and quick read that basically covers Beard's two episodes from the recent BBC2 epic (which was brilliant). Covering a wide range of image, Beard presents an analysis of how numerous works of art from pre-history, Ancient Greece, Central and Southern America, China have depicted the changing form of the human body.

    The second part deals with images of gods and God, again drawing from classical antiquity, stunning Islamic calligraphy and Byzantine iconography amongst others.

    Highly accessible, although one small quibble remains, that of the use of BCE and CE (no one has ever been able to tell me exactly what CE means - at least with BC and AD there is some sort of 'fixed' date), ironic indeed when she is discussing images of Christ. At least Melvyn Bragg (and one of Beard's fellow presenters) are still using the more familiar term and long may they do so.

  • Caroline Middleton

    A brilliant companion piece of popular history that explores how different ‘civilisations’ have represented themselves, culturally and religiously. Beard’s position as Professor of Classics means she somewhat relies on the ancient world to thread her points together, but a thoroughly interesting and quick read nonetheless. If I had to sum up this book in one word, it would be: accessible.

  • David Pearce

    This book, like the series was particularly interesting in places and very dull in others. Kenneth Clark's original is often namechecked in this book talking about the fact that his original approach was very ethnocentric. However, the approach of Beard's contribution is also limited given that she didn't go anywhere near Australia, New Zealand, North America or Scandinavia to look at their art or religion. Some of the conclusions and arguments betray the fact that this book is for mass consumpt

    This book, like the series was particularly interesting in places and very dull in others. Kenneth Clark's original is often namechecked in this book talking about the fact that his original approach was very ethnocentric. However, the approach of Beard's contribution is also limited given that she didn't go anywhere near Australia, New Zealand, North America or Scandinavia to look at their art or religion. Some of the conclusions and arguments betray the fact that this book is for mass consumption rather than academic purposes. I enjoyed the occasional insights in to Roman and Greek civilisations but overall I found the book superficial.

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