The history of art is usually presented as a forward march, with individual works studied as points along a path of progress to the present. This installation—matching the Harvard survey course it accompanies—reverses that familiar direction. The sequence proceeds from recent art back to the Renaissance. This retrospective history of art is meant to capture the point of view of artists themselves, who have, for generations, tried—variously—to preserve, transform, surpass, or overturn what came before them.
Rome, known as the “common fatherland,” was the goal of pilgrims, travelers, and artists from all over Europe. One of the most celebrated was Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1778), a Venetian who spent his entire career in Rome. He produced on average two etchings a month (fourteen are featured in this installation), and his image of Roman grandeur left an indelible stamp on the European imagination.
The Harvard Art Museums present Fernando Bryce’s The Book of Needs, a multipart work comprised of 81 ink-on-paper drawings. Bryce, who was born in Peru but has lived extensively in Berlin and New York, selectively reconstructs images from early issues of the UNESCO Courier, published in English, French, and Spanish since 1948. Over its history, the journal has focused on science, education, race, culture, politics, and international strife, among other subjects.
Explore and consider the bird: The world of birds is full of diverse feather colors that combine to form amazing plumage patterns-- from neon yellow to somber black. How and why do birds achieve these decorative feats?
Explore the beauty of butterflies and moths with artist, illustrator, and educator Erica Beade!. We will use close observation and various realistic drawing techniques to capture these animals and bring them to life on the page. This event is available for children ages 9-13.
Explore the beauty of butterflies and moths with artist, illustrator and educator Erica Beade! This three-hour workshop will introduce observational drawing techniques with pencil and then dive into colored pencil techniques used to create a rich, vibrant image. All skill levels are welcome.
Materials Lab, Lower Level, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St
After taking a closer look at early Dutch Golden Age drawings from the Abrams Collection with a curator and a conservator in the Art Study Center and in the galleries, participants will join Francesca Bewer, research curator for conservation and technical studies programs, in the Materials Lab to try their hand at drawing in the manner of early Dutch masters, exploring historical media and instruments.
This symposium brings together international experts on 17th-century Dutch drawings in honor of George S. Abrams ’54, HLS ’57. Mr. Abrams and his late wife, Maida, pioneered the collecting of Dutch drawings in the United States and have been a unifying force for study and scholarship in the field. Their generous gift of 110 works in 1999 transformed the Harvard Art Museums’ Dutch drawings collection into one of the most comprehensive in any U.S. museum. Speakers will use the vast breadth and depth of the Abrams Collection as a touchstone for discussing the exceptional draftsmanship of the Dutch Golden Age, from Goltzius to Rembrandt.
Menschel Hall, Lower Level, Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St.
In this lecture, James Delbourgo, associate professor of the history of science and the Atlantic World at Rutgers University, reflects on the restaging of Harvard’s Philosophy Chamber and asks what kind of museological value lies in undoing the specialization of knowledge to return to the universal: does it reconstitute an enlightened encyclopedism or ignite a chain reaction of kaleidoscopic juxtapositions? Given the apparent contrast between secretive early modern universalism and the public character of modern specialized knowledge, what does it mean to restage private philosophy chambers for public audiences in 2017?
Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, 11 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge
Remember and celebrate your departed loved ones at this year’s Día de los Muertos altar, savor traditional Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto, and enjoy a presentation by Harvard Professor Davíd Carrasco as part of this festive evening of music and community. Come dressed as a catrina or a catrín and participate in the costume contest at 7:00 pm.
On Wednesday, July 21, 1773, two graduating seniors at Harvard, Theodore Parsons and Eliphalet Pearson, were summoned before a public audience to debate whether slavery was compatible with “natural law.” No More, America (2017; 14 min.), a film by Peter Galison, reimagines this original debate to include the powerful voice of Phillis Wheatley, an acclaimed poet, then-enslaved, who lived just across the Charles River from the two Harvard students. Her presence serves as an intervention, rejecting the racist rhetoric employed by both sides through excerpts from her published works.