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Art Talk Live: The Art of Extinction in Early Modern Europe

A man on horse drags a dead ram behind, while two wolves follow in pursuit.
Antonio Tempesta, Italian, Published by Claes Jansz. Visscher, Dutch, A Wolf Hunt, with a Dead Ram as Bait, 16th–17th century. Engraving. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Eric A. von Raits in memory of Helen van C. de Peyster von Raits, M22312.22.

Gallery Talk

This event was recorded. Please view the talk on our Vimeo channel.

Climate change has brought renewed and urgent interest in the relationship between human behavior and the mass extinction of animal species and their habitats. Early modern Europeans, too, were preoccupied with extinction, and many works of art bear witness to their concerns. Focusing on Antonio Tempesta’s print A Wolf Hunt, with a Dead Ram as Bait, this talk will examine the period’s various notions of extinction, while also drawing connections with contemporary thinking on the subject in museums and elsewhere.

Led by:
Sarah Mallory, graduate intern at the Harvard Art Museums and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

This talk is part of a series inspired by ReFrame, a museum-wide initiative to reimagine the function, role, and future of the university art museum. These talks examine difficult histories, foreground untold stories, and experiment with new approaches to the collections of the Harvard Art Museums, reflecting the concerns of our world today.

This talk will take place online via Zoom. Free admission, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

For instructions on how to join a meeting in Zoom, please click here. If you have any questions, please contact

Art Talks Live are presented via Zoom every other Tuesday at 12:30pm (ET) and offer an up-close look at works from our collections with our team of curators, conservators, fellows, and graduate students.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at at least 48 hours in advance.