British Museum – July 2 2022

The British Museum having lifted its Covid restrictions relating to group visits, we are pleased to be able to offer EMAS members the possibility of taking part in a guided visit led by Michael Duigan.

It will start at 10.30am on July 2nd and last about two hours. While it is a follow-up to the lecture which he gave to members on February 25, entitled Finding the Mind’s Construction in the Face – Portraits of Nero, attendance at the lecture is not a necessary prerequisite for this visit.

Michael has provided this summary of the visit.

Our visit to the British Museum follows on from the lecture on sculptures of the emperor Nero. We will examine images of rulers across a range of cultures and historical periods. We ask why are there no sculptures of kings in Bronze Age Greece? Standardized portraits of Egyptian pharaohs show the ruler as a god, but why are there exceptions? Identity is established – not in features – but by inscribed names. Assyria projects monarchy and military power. Greece grapples with the problem of how to harmonise egalitarian status and individual fame. Augustus attempts to balance his role as first citizen with implied kingship and even divinity. Celebrity emperors look for an equipoise between idealization and naturalistic portrayal of their individual appearance. The contract between (critical) literary descriptions of their actual features and their flattering portraits is fascinating (and amusing). All the portraits we view were used as instruments of government, with consequences for their style.

If you would like to participate in the visit, please let us know by sending an email to, as soon as possible. There is a limit of 15 participants, and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost of the visit will be £10 for EMAS members or £12 for non-members.

If you sign up to the visit, we shall send you details of how to pay and where to meet.