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Art Study Center Seminar: Shifting Perspectives—Art and the Production of Urban Space, 1530–1850

John Jesse Barker, after William G. Mason, Horizontorium: Philadelphia Bank, 1832. Lithograph.
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Purchase through the generosity of the Balzer Family Fund, M25823.


Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

This event is at capacity

Examining a broad range of drawings and prints, this seminar investigates how artists and architects from the 16th century in Europe to the early 19th century in the United States developed new formats and techniques for depicting the complex and changing body of the city. In order to represent expanding urban centers, exotic locales, and new institutions, they turned to geometry, elevated perspective, panoramic presentation, and optical illusion. The results are not only instructive but also often amusing. Looking closely at works by Pieter Coecke van Aelst, Hans Vredeman de Vries, and William G. Mason, among others, we will explore the innovative ways in which real and imagined urban spaces could be represented in two dimensions, providing immersive visual experiences for the viewer. The seminar will be led by Laura Turner Igoe, the Maher Curatorial Fellow of American Art; Austeja Mackelaite, the Stanley H. Durwood Foundation Curatorial Fellow; and Jessie Park, the Rousseau Curatorial Fellow in European Art.

The seminar will take place in the Art Study Center, Level 4.

Free admission, but capacity is limited to 15 and registration is recommended. To register, please email
Please arrive 15 minutes before the start of the program to allow sufficient time to sign in at the Art Study Center reception desk. Note that there is a wait list for this program; spots unclaimed by 11am will be released to those on the wait list. Please be prepared to present a photo ID.
Lockers are available on the Lower Level, Level 1, and Level 4 to check bags, coats, umbrellas, and any food or drink.