How Do We Look

The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization

Mary Beard (Author, Cambridge University)

Logo markA Liveright book


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.

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.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • September 2018
  • ISBN 978-1-63149-440-6
  • 6.1 × 9 in / 240 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth and the European Union.

Also by Mary Beard All

  1. Book CoverConfronting the Classics: Traditions, Adventures, and Innovations


  2. Book CoverSPQR: A History of Ancient Rome


  3. Book CoverWomen & Power: A Manifesto