Anthony Romero


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The Allegory of Good and Bad Government

ANTHONY ROMERO |  Session 3: The Human Response @ TED2017

In a quest to make sense of the political environment in the United States in 2017, attorney and ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero turned to a surprising place — a 14th-century fresco by Italian Renaissance master Ambrogio Lorenzetti. What could a 700-year-old painting possibly teach us about life today? A lot, as it turns out. Romero explains all in a talk that's as striking as the painting itself.


The Approach

An avid fan of Renaissance painting (as witnessed by the collage of Italian postcards that litter his ACLU desk), Anthony may well have been an art history professor in another life. With this in mind, and considering the delicate and controversial subject matter, we decided to structure the talk like a traditional art history lecture, complete with thematic discussions and detailed analysis. The catch? The not-so-subtle overtones drawing correlations between Lorenzetti's 'Bad Government' fresco and the current administration. Blessed with a masterfully-painted fresco as the primary content source, we let Lorenzetti's paintbrush do the talking. With a few clicks of his button, Anthony took us on a virtual tour of the room-sized fresco, offering political commentary while ominous imagery flashed behind him, if only for a fleeting moment. 


The Event

In this exciting week, April 24–28, 2017, a program of more than 70 speakers explored deep scientific and psychological insights, the latest medical advances, the neatest inventions, all mixed with a dose of ancient wisdom, to ask the questions about ourselves that we often don’t have time for.