Called the “world’s most famous classicist,” Beard speaks about her latest book, Twelve Caesars, with a fashion icon who “can’t get enough” of ancient history.
What does the face of power look like? Who gets commemorated in art and why? Against a background of today’s sculpture wars, Mary Beard’s latest book 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 so-called 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.
Beard speaks with self-professed book addict Tim Gunn about her story of some of the most challenging and disturbing portraits of power ever created.
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