A Colloquium in the Visual Arts

, University Teaching Gallery, Harvard Art Museums
  • Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎 (Japanese, 1760–1849), Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), Edo period, c. 1831. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Robert Gregg Stone, 1949.146.24.

  • Krishna Quells the Serpent Kaliya, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series

    Krishna Quells the Serpent Kaliya, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series

    The painting depicts Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu who is worshipped as a deity in his own right, holding up a multi-hooded snake in the swirling waters of the Yamuna River. The blue-skinned god is surrounded by women that are have snake (naga) half human. The image depicts a scene from the Bhagavata Purana, (History of God). The Bhagvata Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas (Great Histories) and is a revered text in Vaishnavism, a Hindu tradition that worships Vishnu. Produced sometime between the sixth and tenth century, the text promotes bhakti (devotion) to Krishna. When Krishna was a youth, he went into the Yamuna River to rescue his ball. He encountered, Kaliya, a poisonous snake (naga) with 110 hoods. The serpent wrapped his body around Krishna, but the deity expanded his body, causing Kaliya to release him. Then, Krishna assumed the weight of the universe and danced on the naga’s hoods, beating time with his feet. Kaliya’s wives begged Krishna to show mercy for their dying husband, depicted here. The awesomeness of Krishna’s size and strength is denoted through his ease in holding up the fearsome serpent. Although Krishna could have vanquished Kaliya, he showed the creature mercy and pardoned him.

  • The Absinthe Drinker

    The Absinthe Drinker

  • Crucifixion

    Crucifixion

  • Saint John before God and the Elders

    Saint John before God and the Elders

  • Lamentation

    Lamentation

  • Untitled (woman leaping)

    Untitled (woman leaping)

  • 8 mm Film Viewer

    8 mm Film Viewer

  • Edmonia Lewis (1845-1907)

    Edmonia Lewis (1845-1907)

  • Verses Praising the Ascetic Life, calligraphy by Mir `Ali Haravi, with elaborate figural paintings in the border by an unknown artist, folio from an album for Emperor Jahangir

    Verses Praising the Ascetic Life, calligraphy by Mir `Ali Haravi, with elaborate figural paintings in the border by an unknown artist, folio from an album for Emperor Jahangir

  • Krishna Quells the Serpent Kaliya, from a Bhagavata Purana series

    Krishna Quells the Serpent Kaliya, from a Bhagavata Purana series

  • Peace bringing back Abundance

    Peace bringing back Abundance

  • Apocalypse

    Apocalypse

  • Profile of Baudelaire Wearing a Hat

    Profile of Baudelaire Wearing a Hat

  • Christ Bearing the Cross, with Saint Veronica

    Christ Bearing the Cross, with Saint Veronica

  • The Head of Christ Crowned with Thorns

    The Head of Christ Crowned with Thorns

  • Untitled (Two Serpents in a River)

    Untitled (Two Serpents in a River)

    Rising above the water level in a river, two snakes face one another against a backdrop of barren hills. The meaning of this image in not clear. It was made during the last decade of Nandalal Bose’s life, when he depicted scenes from nature conjured from memory or imagination.

  • No Title (The Fix Was)

    No Title (The Fix Was)

  • Olympia (large plate)

    Olympia (large plate)

  • Calling of Saint John

    Calling of Saint John

  • Christ Carrying the Cross

    Christ Carrying the Cross

  • Pilate Washing His Hands

    Pilate Washing His Hands

  • The Sudarium Displayed by Two Angels

    The Sudarium Displayed by Two Angels

  • Viewing Sunset over Ryōgoku Bridge from the Ommaya Embankment (Ommayagashi yori Ryōgoku-bashi no sekiyō o miru), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)

    Viewing Sunset over Ryōgoku Bridge from the Ommaya Embankment (Ommayagashi yori Ryōgoku-bashi no sekiyō o miru), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)

  • Fragment of a Wall Painting with the Head and Bust of Guanyin Pusa (the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara)

    Fragment of a Wall Painting with the Head and Bust of Guanyin Pusa (the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara)

  • Krishna Subdues the Serpent King Kaliya, folio from an album of the Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Stories of the Lord)

    Krishna Subdues the Serpent King Kaliya, folio from an album of the Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Stories of the Lord)

  • Oinochoe (wine pitcher): Two Warriors in Combat; Hermes and Giant (?)

    Oinochoe (wine pitcher): Two Warriors in Combat; Hermes and Giant (?)

    Black-figure oinochoe with trefoil mouth. White ground panel on the front of the vessel depicts two figures in combat: Hermes and a giant. On the left, Hermes lunges forward, plunging his sword into the nude, bearded giant who turns to look back at his attacker as he falls to his knee. He holds a rounded shield in defense and wears a Corinthian helmet pushed back on his head. Engaged in action, Hermes wears a short chiton, cloak, high boots, and a petasos. A small lion leaps towards the giant from Hermes' feet. The vessel is intact with added red details throughout including Hermes' beard, spear, and patterning on his cloak. The white ground panel is banded on the top and both sides by several rows of ornamental patterns. Red stripes circle the neck, lower body, and edge of the foot.

  • Portrait of Mademoiselle Carnot

    Portrait of Mademoiselle Carnot

  • The Family of the Earl of Granville

    The Family of the Earl of Granville

  • The Four Riders of the Apocalypse

    The Four Riders of the Apocalypse

  • The Infant Krishna Floating on the Cosmic Ocean, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series

    The Infant Krishna Floating on the Cosmic Ocean, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series

    The painting depicts Krishna, the eighth avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu who is worshipped as a deity in his own right, as an infant. He is sucking his toe as he lies on a single banyan tree leaf that floats on water. The image depicts a scene from the Bhagavata Purana, (History of God). The Bhagvata Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas (Great Histories) and is a revered text in Vaishnavism, a Hindu tradition that worships Vishnu. Produced sometime between the sixth and tenth century, the text promotes bhakti (devotion) to Krishna. According to the Bhagavata Purana, the Hindu sage Markandeya gained immortality and swam across the cosmic ocean for a countless time. He came across the infant Krishna, who opened his mouth to reveal the creation of the universe. This charming painting depicts what Markandeya encountered. The god’s infancy represents that of a new world cycle that forms with him. Despite his supernatural powers, he possesses a childlike innocence that is expressed through his playful gesture. The rich blue hue of Krishna’s skin and heavy, dreamy eyes are characteristic of paintings from Nathdwara.

  • Christ Carrying the Cross

    Christ Carrying the Cross

    The engraving was hand-colored by Georg Mack the Elder circa 1588 (initialed "GM" in gold). The recto border of the vellum mount is decorated with a scroll of tiger lilies and blue flowers and a bird above and a grasshopper below. The verso has a German manuscript text in brown ink and gold relating to the Suffering of Christ, and the border is decorated with a scroll of red and pink carnations, a different flower above, a pheasant, an ant, a snail and a quail.

  • The Sudarium Held by One Angel

    The Sudarium Held by One Angel

  • The Mitsui Shop on Suruga Street in Edo (Edo Suruga-chō Mitsui-mise ryakuzu), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)

    The Mitsui Shop on Suruga Street in Edo (Edo Suruga-chō Mitsui-mise ryakuzu), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)

  • Perspective Picture of the Sakai-chō Theater, Edo (Uki-e Edo Sakai-chō shibai no zu)

    Perspective Picture of the Sakai-chō Theater, Edo (Uki-e Edo Sakai-chō shibai no zu)

    The print depicts interior of the Sakaichō Theater (Ukie Edo Sakai-cho Shibai no zu) with the actor (possibly Ichikawa Danjūrō the 5th) as the hero in Shibaraku coming down the ramp.

  • The Philosopher

    The Philosopher

  • Elk Running

    Elk Running

  • Bison Charging

    Bison Charging

  • Column Krater (mixing bowl for wine and water): Two Warriors in Ambush Crouching in Trees

    Column Krater (mixing bowl for wine and water): Two Warriors in Ambush Crouching in Trees

    Side A: In a palm grove of three trees two warriors in ambush, crouching to left. They are nude save for a Corinthian helmet, sword-belt and scabbard, and each holds a spear in his right and a shield in his left ornamented with a device: that of the left hand warrior a winged griffin, that of the right hand an ithyphallic mule around which runs the inscription XO?XOS OGSKALOS. In the field, senseless inscriptions in applied purple. Side B: The same scene except that the shield devices are a winged diskeles and a triskeles. Senseless inscriptions in field. On upper edge of rim, lotus bud chain; on sides, ivy leaf chain. On top of each handle, floral palmette (Black-figure). On obverse of neck, reserved panel containing four centaurs to right (no incisions) and imitation inscriptions in field. On each side of body a panel containing the design framed by a tongue pattern above, ivy leaf at sides. On base, rays. Portion of lower part restored in plaster.

  • A Café Interior

    A Café Interior

  • Krishna Swallows the Forest Fire, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series

    Krishna Swallows the Forest Fire, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series

    The painting depicts Krishna, the eighth avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu who is worshipped as a deity in his own right, in profile and swallowing large flames. His arms are outstretched and he bears a crown topped with three lotuses, an attribute of both Krishna and Vishnu. The image depicts a scene from the Bhagavata Purana, (History of God). The Bhagvata Purana is one of the eighteen Mahapuranas (Great Histories) and is a revered text in Vaishnavism, a Hindu tradition that worships Vishnu. Produced sometime between the sixth and tenth century, the text promotes bhakti (devotion) to Krishna. According to the Bhagavata Purana, the young Krishna and his eldest brother, Balarama, are separated from the rest of the cowherd and their cows, who enter deep into the forest in search of fresh grass. Suddenly, they are encircled by a large and violent fire, with no means to escape. They call out to Krishna for help, and the deity rushes over and swallows up all of the flames, saving them. While many depictions of the scene portray Krishna, the cowherd, and the animals within a fiery landscape, the artist here has chosen to depict the deity alone, in order to dramatize the moment when he manifests his divine power.

  • Fluxfilm

    Fluxfilm

  • Virgin and Child with Angels (painting by a Portuguese artist), the central image of a folio from an album of Emperor Jahangir; mounted with an ornamental border by a Mughal artist

    Virgin and Child with Angels (painting by a Portuguese artist), the central image of a folio from an album of Emperor Jahangir; mounted with an ornamental border by a Mughal artist

  • Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)

    Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)

  • Ascetics  Making Bhang

    Ascetics Making Bhang

    This small drawing depicts four youths in a wooded setting. Three are handling pots and a basket while a fourth peers down from behind a tree. The figures are nude, covered if at all, only by wavy hair. A dog, with crossed forelegs observes from the right; a walking stick with curving handle lies in the middle ground. These elements--the nudity, the walking stick, and the dog--are attributes of India's religious ascetics and common to their artistic portrayal.

  • Phenakistiscope

    Phenakistiscope

  • Olympia (small plate)

    Olympia (small plate)

  • Christ Carrying the Cross

    Christ Carrying the Cross

  • Sudarium of Saint Veronica, with the Face of the Thorn-Crowned Savior

    Sudarium of Saint Veronica, with the Face of the Thorn-Crowned Savior

  • Jockey Riding

    Jockey Riding

  • Amphora (storage jar): Herakles Fighting Geryon; Arming of a Warrior

    Amphora (storage jar): Herakles Fighting Geryon; Arming of a Warrior

    On one side: Herakles fighting Geryon. For one of his labors, Herakles was required to travel to Erytheia, an island in the far west, to take the cattle of Geryon, a triple-bodied monster. Herakles stands at the left of the scene, with a red beard, and wearing his characteristic lionskin over a short red tunic (chiton). He wears the head of the lion over his own, with its front legs tied over his chest, pulled in by a belt at his waist. The lionskin is decorated with incised double lines to represent the fur. In his right hand he holds a sword; his left hand is obscured by Geryon’s shields. At Herakles’ feet and behind his left leg there is a man crouching down on his hands and knees. This is Eurytion, Geryon’s henchman, who seems to have already been dispatched by Herakles. He wears a red tunic under another garment which is tied with a red belt, and a wool cap of a kind which characterises him as a peasant. Opposite Herakles is Geryon, depicted as three overlapping warriors. Each wears greaves, a helmet, and a cuirass, and carries a shield with its outer band in red; two of the helmets overlap with the decorative frieze above, and may have been originally painted in red. The three figures stand in with their left legs forward in unison; the closest and farthest wear red greaves while the middle has black greaves, which helps visually differentiate these three pairs of legs with identical poses. The warrior closest to the viewer turns back, facing towards the right, revealing the interior of his shield, and holding a rock in his hand, rather than a true weapon, indicating his monstrous nature. The middle warrior faces Herakles to the left, and seems to hold a spear up pointing at the hero’s face. His shield once had a device of the front half of a horse painted in added white but this is now barely visible. Only the top of the far warrior’s helmet is visible behind the other figures; his shield can be seen behind the middle warrior’s shield, and he perhaps holds the spear of which a small part can be seen between the shields and the figure of Eurytion. At the bottom right of the scene, between the monster’s legs, is his two-headed dog Orthros, whose nearest head wears a collar and has its neck painted in added red. Mythologically, this dog is the offspring of Typhon and Echidna, and therefore is the brother of the three-headed dog Cerberus who guarded the underworld. On the other side: A nude warrior arming himself, watched by four figures. The warrior stands at the center, facing to the right, with red hair. He lifts up his left leg and holds a greave in front of it with both hands, about to put it on. On the ground below his left leg there is a crested helmet, with its added color worn off. To his left stand two male figures facing towards him; the leftmost is red-haired and bearded and wears a cloak around his lower half, with his chest exposed. The other figure is also red-haired and wears a cloak draped over his a long tunic. To the right of the warrior stands a woman, facing him and gesturing to him with her right hand. She wears a long belted dress (peplos) with incised decoration; the added color is lost. Her features are poorly preserved because her skin would have been painted with added white, which is lost. Behind her stands a bearded, red-haired nude male figure. The figures standing around the warrior may represent members of his family, farewelling him as he leaves for battle. Each figural scene is in a reserved panel bordered on top by a frieze of lotus and palmettes. There is a band of rays at the base of the body.

  • Race Course at Longchamp; verso: Section of grandstand area

    Race Course at Longchamp; verso: Section of grandstand area

  • Krishna Quells the Serpent Kaliya, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series
  • The Absinthe Drinker
  • Crucifixion
  • Saint John before God and the Elders
  • Lamentation
  • Untitled (woman leaping)
  • 8 mm Film Viewer
  • Edmonia Lewis (1845-1907)
  • Verses Praising the Ascetic Life, calligraphy by Mir `Ali Haravi, with elaborate figural paintings in the border by an unknown artist, folio from an album for Emperor Jahangir
  • Krishna Quells the Serpent Kaliya, from a Bhagavata Purana series
  • Peace bringing back Abundance
  • Apocalypse
  • Profile of Baudelaire Wearing a Hat
  • Christ Bearing the Cross, with Saint Veronica
  • The Head of Christ Crowned with Thorns
  • Untitled (Two Serpents in a River)
  • No Title (The Fix Was)
  • Olympia (large plate)
  • Calling of Saint John
  • Christ Carrying the Cross
  • Pilate Washing His Hands
  • The Sudarium Displayed by Two Angels
  • Viewing Sunset over Ryōgoku Bridge from the Ommaya Embankment (Ommayagashi yori Ryōgoku-bashi no sekiyō o miru), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)
  • Fragment of a Wall Painting with the Head and Bust of Guanyin Pusa (the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara)
  • Krishna Subdues the Serpent King Kaliya, folio from an album of the Bhagavata Purana (Ancient Stories of the Lord)
  • Oinochoe (wine pitcher): Two Warriors in Combat; Hermes and Giant (?)
  • Portrait of Mademoiselle Carnot
  • The Family of the Earl of Granville
  • The Four Riders of the Apocalypse
  • The Infant Krishna Floating on the Cosmic Ocean, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series
  • Christ Carrying the Cross
  • The Sudarium Held by One Angel
  • The Mitsui Shop on Suruga Street in Edo (Edo Suruga-chō Mitsui-mise ryakuzu), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)
  • Perspective Picture of the Sakai-chō Theater, Edo (Uki-e Edo Sakai-chō shibai no zu)
  • The Philosopher
  • Elk Running
  • Bison Charging
  • Column Krater (mixing bowl for wine and water): Two Warriors in Ambush Crouching in Trees
  • A Café Interior
  • Krishna Swallows the Forest Fire, Folio from a Bhagavata Purana (History of God) series
  • Fluxfilm
  • Virgin and Child with Angels (painting by a Portuguese artist), the central image of a folio from an album of Emperor Jahangir; mounted with an ornamental border by a Mughal artist
  • Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura), from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei)
  • Ascetics  Making Bhang
  • Phenakistiscope
  • Olympia (small plate)
  • Christ Carrying the Cross
  • Sudarium of Saint Veronica, with the Face of the Thorn-Crowned Savior
  • Jockey Riding
  • Amphora (storage jar): Herakles Fighting Geryon; Arming of a Warrior
  • Race Course at Longchamp; verso: Section of grandstand area
On View Locate on Floor Plan University Teaching Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

Make your reservation to visit the Harvard Art Museums now!

Humanities 20 is an introduction to the study of the humanities through major works of art and architecture from around the world: everything from ancient Persian sculpture to modern stop-motion photography. The course is taught by six members of the Harvard faculty: Jinah Kim, Joseph Koerner, Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Yukio Lippit, Jennifer Roberts, and David Roxburgh.

Each week, the students immerse themselves in the cultural and imaginary world of a single artwork. Following an expansive lecture on the work, the students gather in this gallery for “looking labs,” in which they develop skills of close observation, description, and visual analysis.

The course teaches students what it means to engage deeply with an artwork, and how to think through an artwork about big questions in human culture: social justice, gender, modernity, religious belief, cross-cultural encounter, the nature of time, the relationship between art and science, and how different cultures have thought about life and death and the beginning and end of the world.

The University Teaching Gallery serves faculty and students affiliated with Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. Semester-long installations are mounted here in conjunction with undergraduate and graduate courses, supporting instruction in the critical analysis of art and making unique selections from the museums’ collections available to all visitors.

This installation is made possible in part by funding from the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund and the José Soriano Fund. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.