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Learning to See: Art, Medical Imaging, and Project Success

This painting shows three pairs of black lace-up boots against a white-gray sheet. The boots are lined up in a row: the top of the first boot is rolled over with laces tangled; the sole of the third boot faces up, illuminated by flecks of white paint; and the last pair of boots seem to teeter on the edge of the table. In the center of the image is a thin white line; the right side of the image is a photograph of the corresponding side of the painting, taken under raking light. The black boots appear in a lighter shade.
Vincent van Gogh, Dutch, Three Pairs of Shoes, 1886–87. Oil on canvas. Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest from the Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, 1951.66. The right side of the painting has been photographed under raking light by the team at the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies.

Special Event

This event was recorded. Please view the seminar here.

How can looking at art help high school students envision a future for themselves in medicine? Join us live on Zoom to learn more about a recent collaboration with Project Success for High School Students, a summer school program at Harvard Medical School that offers 11th and 12th graders from Boston and Cambridge an opportunity to explore professional pathways in the biomedical field. This collaboration builds on a program that helps doctors-in-training better understand their patients by engaging with art at the Harvard Art Museums.

Following presentations by this year’s high school students, Hyewon Hyun of Harvard Medical School and David Odo of the Harvard Art Museums will lead a conversation on the importance of informed, empathetic close looking; how visual analysis skills can enhance patient care; and the benefits of incorporating art into medical training.

Presented in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Partnership.

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

You will receive an email confirming your registration along with a Zoom link and password for the program. If you have any questions, please contact

For instructions for how to join a meeting in Zoom, please click here.

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