AIA Norton Lecturer: “Mistaken Identities: Tracking down Roman Emperors in Modern Art” (Mary Beard)

Speaker: Dr. Mary Beard, Professor of Classics, University of Cambridge

Classical Roman emperors were often represented in Renaissance and later art, despite their collectively thuggish and often murderous natures.  In her lecture, “Mistaken identities: tracking down Roman emperors in modern art“, Professor Mary Beard explores why were they such a popular subject, whether they just wall-paper for the elite, and how we are so bad at identifying them.  The lecture will be referring in part to the recent exhibition Silver Caesars at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which showcased the 16th century set of 12 silver-gilt standing cups known as the Aldobrandini Tazze, each of which included a figure of one of the first 12 Caesars.


Professor Mary Beard is Professor of Classics at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, Professor of Ancient Literature for the Royal Academy of Arts, and is Classics Editor for the Times Literary Supplement.  She holds her degrees from the University of Cambridge, and her extensive areas of expertise encompass ancient history and Classical art and archaeology.  Her published works include SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome (Profile Books, 2015), and in 2013 she was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire.  Professor Beard is also known for her work in popular media, including BBC television series such as Pompeii: New Secrets Revealed with Mary Beard and Mary Beard’s Ultimate Rome: Empire Without Limit.  A recent article in The Guardian dubbed her “Britain’s most beloved intellectual”.