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Writing on Still Life [CANCELED]

A watercolor drawing depicts flowers, butterflies, and other insects on a ledge.
Margaretha Adriaensdr. de Heer, Dutch, Still Life of Flowers and Small Animals on a Ledge, 1642. Watercolor, gouache, and black chalk on parchment. The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Promised gift, 7.2019.15.

Gallery Talk

Harvard Art Museums
32 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

Note: This event has been canceled.

In this interactive online session, led by art history graduate students Alejandro Octavio Nodarse (Harvard University) and Sara Petrilli-Jones (Yale University and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), we will look closely at a still-life drawing by Margaretha de Heer, called Still Life of Flowers and Small Animals on a Ledge (1642). Together, we will consider the relationship between looking, describing, and imagining. Prompted by De Heer’s drawing, we will ask a series of questions: how might such a work engage our senses? What responses—individual and collective—does it elicit? How has the artist’s gender played a role in the creation and reception of the work? All participants will be invited to share their responses through conversation and writing.

The session will conclude with a short reading and discussion of the poem “Fruits by the Hand of a Woman” (1620), by Italian author Giambattista Marino, which takes a still-life painting as its point of creative departure. Nodarse and Petrilli-Jones are translators of Marino’s poems into English.

Led by:
Alejandro Nodarse, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
Sara Petrilli-Jones, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of the History of Art, Yale University and Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

This talk is part of the series Fresh Perspectives, an initiative that centers the role of the museumgoer. Like talks in the ReFrame series, these programs highlight diverse voices and broad interpretations of difficult histories and untold narratives. This approach encourages visitors to consider alternative ways of understanding an object, culture, or theme.

This talk will take place online via Zoom. The event is free and open to all, but registration is required. To register, please complete this online form.

Please read these instructions on how to join a meeting on Zoom. For general questions about Art Talks, email

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.