Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern Hardcover – October 12, 2021 by Mary Beard

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{392 pages}

PUB :October 12, 2021


Out of stock



Author: Beard Mary

Package Dimensions: 0x241x788

Number Of Pages: 392

Release Date: 12-10-2021

Details: Product Description

From the bestselling author of SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, the fascinating story of how images of Roman autocrats have influenced art, culture, and the representation of power for more than 2,000 yearsWhat does the face of power look like? Who gets commemorated in art and why? And how do we react to statues of politicians we deplore? In this book―against a background of today’s “sculpture wars”―Mary Beard tells the story of how for more than two millennia portraits of the rich, powerful, and famous in the western world have been shaped by the image of Roman emperors, especially the “Twelve Caesars,” from the ruthless Julius Caesar to the fly-torturing Domitian. Twelve Caesars asks why these murderous autocrats have loomed so large in art from antiquity and the Renaissance to today, when hapless leaders are still caricatured as Neros fiddling while Rome burns.Beginning with the importance of imperial portraits in Roman politics, this richly illustrated book offers a tour through 2,000 years of art and cultural history, presenting a fresh look at works by artists from Memling and Mantegna to the nineteenth-century American sculptor Edmonia Lewis, as well as by generations of weavers, cabinetmakers, silversmiths, printers, and ceramicists. Rather than a story of a simple repetition of stable, blandly conservative images of imperial men and women, Twelve Caesars is an unexpected tale of changing identities, clueless or deliberate misidentifications, fakes, and often ambivalent representations of authority.From Beard’s reconstruction of Titian’s extraordinary lost Room of the Emperors to her reinterpretation of Henry VIII’s famous Caesarian tapestries, Twelve Caesars includes fascinating detective work and offers a gripping story of some of the most challenging and disturbing portraits of power ever created.Published in association with the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC


“A Library Journal Fall 2021 Nonfiction Must”

“What better escape from the woes of our present day than rolling around in the intrigues of the Roman Empire? Naughty Caesars! Pictures too! Avidly I plunge in!” ―
Margaret Atwood

“Twelve Caesars is fascinating and not only because its author writes so engagingly. Many years in the making, the world into which it will be born is not quite the same as the one in which it was conceived. Its preoccupations – essentially, it’s about the way that images of Roman emperors from Caesar to Domitian have influenced culture across the centuries – are suddenly and newly of the moment in a Britain that has become completely fixated with statues.”
—Rachel Cooke, The Observer

“Mary Beard provides a masterclass for art historians and classicists on the challenges of interpretation and the potentialities of meaning in this neglected area of classical studies, so important to elite visual power politics between the 15th and 19th centuries.”
—Simon J. V. Malloch, Literary Review

[Mary] Beard, a prolific author and a distinguished classical scholar, brilliantly describes the ways in which images of Roman emperors have influenced art, culture and politics for two millennia. . . . Twelve Caesars is a masterly demonstration of scholarship in a variety of fields, from republican Roman politics to Renaissance tapestry to contemporary British collage. Again and again, Ms. Beard gives us unexpected insights. . . . Twelve Caesars is wonderfully readable, with graceful prose and witty comments along the way.”
—Barry Strauss, Wall Street Journal

“We talk about Beard’s book, out later this year, on images of the Roman emperors from the ancient world to now. It will have that distinctive focus of hers: not just who the emperors were and what they did, but how we think about them. In her work, the consumption of classical culture is as revealing as the culture itself.”
—Josh Spero, Financial Times

“A fantastic new book.”
—Tom Holland, The Res

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