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The Question of Skill

The Question of Skill

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Free (with the price of admission) and open to the public

Saturday, March 2, 2013, 2-3pm

Arthur M. Sackler Museum

485 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138

For more info visit

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To explore the concept of skill, this talk will focus on two very different objects in the Art Museums collection—Otto van Meurs’s long-case musical clock from 1750 and Charles Bird King’s 1830 painting The Vanity of the Artist’s Dream. In the periods when they worked, van Meurs and King were regarded as true masters of their craft. But their skill was not manifested in the same way. The clockmaker was celebrated for his dexterity and ability to precisely manipulate fine materials. King, on the other hand, was seen as a master of deception, a magician who could fool the viewer into the reading the painted object as real. This talk will use the clock and the painting as a springboard to enter into a broader conversation on the nature of the “well-crafted” object and the ever-shifting definition of skill. Gallery talks are informal and include discussion. Limited to 25 participants; please arrive early. Gazette Classification: Art/Design. Exhibitions. Organization/Sponsor: Harvard Art Museums. Speaker(s): Ethan Lasser, Margaret S. Winthrop Associate Curator of American Art, Division of European and American Art, Harvard Art Museums. Cost:

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  • Janet

    Sounds great but I have a conflict.

    March 1, 2013

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