Seventeenth-century artist Simon de Vlieger was one of many Dutch draftsmen who captured panoramas of the cities and towns that surrounded them. In his observed and accurate drawing of Weesp, a municipality located outside Amsterdam on the river Vecht, aspects of this recognizable view speak to larger questions of commerce and the environment. Join curatorial research associate Susan Anderson to discover these details within the broader artistic and cultural milieu of landscape drawing in the Dutch Republic.
Curator Sara Schechner, from Harvard’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, and Lynette Roth, curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, will team up to explore a 120-year-old Zeiss photographic microscope. The curators will look at the assemblage of its various parts and share with visitors what they tell us about how scientists work with such a microscope. Its diverse components, housed in a wooden case, reveal not only the technical challenges of taking photographs through a microscope lens, but also the instrument’s inherent social, cultural, and aesthetic connections....
Seventeenth-century Dutch artists, such as Abraham Bloemaert, Hendrick Avercamp, and Albert Cuyp, achieved coloristic effects through a variety of means. Join curator Joachim Homann in an exploration of colorful papers, inks, and washes from artists of the Dutch Republic.
The talk will highlight amateur botanist Ella Hurd and the process she used to make her cyanotypes. It will also explore the importance of camera-less photography to scientific research and documentation in the 19th century.
Join curator Horace D. Ballard for fresh perspective on two of the museums’ iconic portraits of George Washington through the meaning of gesture and the materialities of fashion. Inspired by Ballard’s recent research on Washington and his rewriting of the portraits’ gallery labels, the talk will explore the important role artists played in shaping the nation’s sense of self after the partisan politics of the Revolutionary War.
The Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP) and the Harvard Art Museums present a lecture by author David Treuer.
David Treuer, an Ojibwe Indian, will offer a fresh and in-depth perspective on the current state of affairs for Native and Indigenous peoples in the Americas. Drawing from his experience growing up on the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota and as an accomplished academic, Treuer’s work includes both nonfiction and fiction.
Join Ben Sibson, a graduate student at Harvard in human evolutionary biology, for a conversation about how art can enhance our understanding of the evolution of human health. Looking at works of art installed in the University Study Gallery this semester for the undergraduate course Human Evolution and Human Health, Sibson will show how the objects provide useful information about the physical activities performed by people across time and space, as well as the foods they ate, the clothes they wore, and the spaces where they lived.
In 1954, Egyptian archaeologist Kamal el-Mallakh discovered a 144-foot ship buried next to the Great Pyramid of Giza. The Khufu boat—one of the oldest-known planked vessels from antiquity—was interred in honor of Khufu, the pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid. Bob Brier will discuss what is known about the design, propulsion, and function of this 4,600-year- old ship, based on recent tank tests conducted on a model. He will also highlight plans to build a full-scale replica of the vessel and to place it on the Nile.
Ancient Maya civilization suffered a major demise between the tenth and eleventh centuries. The causes continue to be investigated and debated. Paleoenvironmental research over the past twenty years has revealed that the demise coincided with a prolonged, intensive drought that extended across the region, providing compelling evidence that climate change played a key role in the collapse of the Maya. Billie Turner will examine this evidence and the complex social and environmental conditions that affected Maya societies.
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden St., Cambridge
The new geopolitical environment taking shape in many parts of the world tends toward increasing authoritarianism and nationalistic competition. In this lecture, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, an international human rights advocate and the former United Nations high commissioner for human rights, will argue that the world’s people deserve better. Despite the demagoguery and isolationism that some leaders are pursuing, he believes it is possible to pursue thoughtful diplomacy and a system of connectivity, coalitions, and partnerships to reform institutions and change polices.
Join the Radcliffe Institute for a poetry reading and discussion with Clint Smith.
Clint Smith is a doctoral candidate at Harvard University and an Emerson Fellow at New America. He has received fellowships from the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation, while his writing has been published in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic, Poetry Magazine, the Paris Review, and elsewhere. His first full-length collection of poetry, Counting Descent, was published in 2016. It won the 2017...
Egypt’s recorded history spans six thousand years and is therefore one of the longest and best known in the world. Today, Egyptians practice several religious, artistic, and social traditions that can be traced to ancient Egypt, demonstrating the power and longevity of cultural memory. Drawing on research in archaeology, Egyptian art, writing, and culture, Fayza Haikal will examine Egyptian society’s cultural expressions from antiquity to the present, focusing on language, spirituality, superstitions, funerary traditions, and folklore.
Be among the first to see over 120 works included in the Harvard Art Museums' latest show, which celebrates the rich visual culture of Japan's early modern era. The galleries are open late, and admission is free for...
Davis Center, Knafel Building, Room K262, 1730 Cambridge St., Cambridge
Moscow writer Lev Rubinstein will read from his work and engage in a wide-ranging conversation in a special Davis Center seminar.
Rubinstein exemplifies a striking aesthetic response to life in repressive times, one that emphasizes the artist’s freedom of expression and the power of humor in the face of lies. He has won multiple prizes at home and abroad and has a readiness to push at the boundaries of literary norms. Author of more than a dozen books in Russian, Rubinstein has been more active as an essayist since the start of the 2000s. He has also emerged as a public figure...
As a Radcliffe fellow, Anthony Romero (RI '20) is working on a multimedia research and visual art project that includes a collection of related but discrete works which attempt to articulate how indigenous populations, under European colonial rule in Australia, South Asia, and the United States, were controlled through the criminalization and legislating of native sound and music practices. Taken together, these histories reveal how carceral and criminalizing strategies sowed the seeds for the ongoing over-policing of black and brown communities.
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street, Cambridge
Chanan Tigay is an award-winning journalist and nonfiction writer who has covered the Middle East, 9/11, and the United Nations for such outlets as AFP, the Atlantic, GQ, and the New Yorker. In this lecture, Tigay will talk about his first book, The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible, which tells the story of the oldest Bible in the world, how its outing as a fraud led to a scandalous death, and why archaeologists now believe it was real—if only they could find it. In addition to the story of this controversial Bible, Tigay will speak about his own hunt for the...
Join the Harvard Semitic Museum for a public lecture with Elizabeth Minor, Visiting Assistant Professor in Anthropology at Wellesley College.
The Kerma Kingdom was an ancient Nubian civilization located in present-day Sudan. Its capital, the city of Kerma, had monumental architecture and religious art depicting deities in the form of lions, scorpions, and hybrid figures such as winged giraffes and hippopotamus goddesses. During the Classic Kerma Period (1700–1550 BCE), funerary monuments of Kerman kings could be up to one hundred meters long and included hundreds of...
Gund Hall, 485 Broadway Lecture Hall, 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge
This lecture, in memorium of James Sloss Ackerman, Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Fine Art Emeritus, is sponsored by the Department of History of Art and Architecture and the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
James Sloss Ackerman was born in 1919 in San Francisco. At Yale University his professor, Henri Focillon, wrote to him “Remain faithful to our studies for which you are so well suited.” Ackerman's graduate work focusing on Renaissance architecture was guided by Richard Krautheimer and Erwin Panofsky at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. His...
This panel discussion with two leading Jewish cultural historians examines the remarkable contributions and tragic death of the great actor, theater director, playwright, visionary of Yiddish culture, and Jewish activist Solomon (Shloyme) Mikhoels (1890–1948).
Born Shloyme Vovsi in Dvinsk (now Daugavpils, Latvia), the genius actor Mikhoels became the chief director of the State Jewish Theater in Moscow. During World War II, he served as chairman of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee. Mikhoels’ assassination by Stalin’s secret police, although officially billed as an accident,...