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Dare to Know: An Introduction

A color print portrays the muscular system of a woman’s back.
Jacques-Fabien Gautier d’Agoty, French, “Muscles of the Back,” plate 14 from Myologie complette en couleur et grandeur naturelle (Complete Scientific Study of Muscles in Color and Life-Size), 1746. Color mezzotint. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the SmithKline Beckman Corporation Fund, 1968, 1968-25-79n, TL42415.2. Image: Courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

This event was recorded. Please view the lecture on our Vimeo or Youtube channels.

Join us for a series of brief presentations and a discussion about our latest special exhibition, Dare to Know: Prints and Drawings in the Age of Enlightenment, with curators Elizabeth M. Rudy and Kristel Smentek, along with several contributors to the exhibition catalogue. Dare to Know will be on view at the Harvard Art Museums from September 16, 2022 through January 15, 2023.

Following the discussion, guests are invited to visit the exhibition on Level 3, for informal remarks by graduate student contributors to the catalogue from Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture and MIT’s Department of Architecture.

Featuring approximately 150 works on paper and other related objects, Dare to Know explores how the graphic arts inspired, shaped, and gave immediacy to new ideas in the Enlightenment era by encouraging individuals to follow their own reason when seeking to know more.

An illustrated catalogue with 26 thematic essays—an A to Z exploration of the Enlightenment quest for understanding and change—accompanies the exhibition.

Elizabeth Saari Browne, Senior Cataloguer for the Decloux Collection, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Edouard Kopp, John R. Eckel, Jr., Foundation Chief Curator, Menil Drawing Institute
Tamar Mayer, Assistant Professor, Art History and Curatorial Studies, Tel Aviv University
Elizabeth Rudy, Carl A. Weyerhaeuser Curator of Prints, Division of European and American Art, Harvard Art Museums
Kristel Smentek, Associate Professor of Art History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Moderated by Joachim Homann, Maida and George Abrams Curator of Drawings, Division of European and American Art, Harvard Art Museums

Free admission, but seating is limited and reservations are required. Reservations may be arranged by clicking on the event on this form beginning Monday, September 5, after 10am.

The lecture will take place in Menschel Hall, Lower Level. Doors will open at 5pm.

Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museums.

Limited complimentary parking is available in the Broadway Garage, 7 Felton Street, Cambridge.

This exhibition is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the exhibition is provided by the Melvin R. Seiden and Janine Luke Fund for Publications and Exhibitions, the Robert M. Light Print Department Fund, the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Support Fund, the Catalogues and Exhibitions Fund for Pre-Twentieth-Century Art of the Fogg Museum, and the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation. The catalogue was made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Publication Funds, including the Henry P. McIlhenny Fund. Related programming is supported by the M. Victor Leventritt Lecture Series Endowment Fund.

Support for the program is provided by the M. Victor Leventritt Fund, which was established through the generosity of the wife, children, and friends of the late M. Victor Leventritt, Harvard Class of 1935. The purpose of the fund is to present outstanding scholars of the history and theory of art to the Harvard and Greater Boston communities.

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.