Sunday, July 21, 2024


Let the sudden swelling in population, difficulty getting restaurant reservations and fresh faces clad in black gowns serve as a reminder this year not just that Harvard is graduating a new class, but that Cambridge gets a gift for having hosted it: free admission to the Harvard Art Museums.

Access to the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler building at 32 Quincy St. near Harvard Square is free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday (in honor of Harvard Class Day) and Thursday (for Harvard’s commencement), including five gallery talks and a lecture based on museum exhibitions and collections.

Among those talks is “Flowers of Evil: Symbolist Drawings, 1870–1910,” which associate curator Edouard Kopp will delve into, 15 people at a time, for the symbolists’ deeper meanings. (“The Raising of Lazarus” by Odilon Redon, above, is part of the collection.)

“Symbolist drawings were not united by a single technique or style, but by the artists’ shared desire to make the invisible visible,” says Kopp’s précis for the talk. “Symbolism enabled artists to confront an increasingly uncertain and complex world, one that they alternately viewed in terms of degeneration and decadence, idealism and reform.”

Just like this months graduates, no doubt.

Find information and event listings on the museum calendar.