Campus & Community

Chiaroscuro: Exploring the dark and the light

2 min read

Capturing light and dark on Harvard’s campus

The Italian word “chiaroscuro” means roughly “light and dark.” As in film noir, visual attributes play a starring role. Blacks are like coal, and shadows are long and dramatic. There is a feel of mystery in the tableau. Paintings and photographs are represented in terms of highlights and shadows without regard to color. Strong directional light lifts out details and adds dimension. As the winter finally fades, so too does chiaroscuro on Harvard’s campus.

— Rose Lincoln

An urn at the Harvard Medical School appears larger and darker than the pedestrian passing behind it because of perspective and light.
Heading up the stairs that connect the Harvard T.H. Chang School of Public Health with the Harvard Medical School, a pedestrian and his backpack are nearly silhouetted against the light stone that defines the schools’ exteriors.
Inside Busch Hall, a fan window casts an elongated shadow on a nearby wall.
A look into Harvard Stadium from North Harvard Street.
Afternoon light pours through the windows of the Sert Gallery in the Carpenter Center, where Margarita Ortiz works as a security guard.
The stone ornamentation of Austin Hall at Harvard Law School is the backdrop for travelers heading in opposite directions in the early morning light.
At Newell Boathouse, lightweight crewmen stretch their muscles before hitting the rowing machines.
Intensity builds as crewmen Niels Laurberg (from left), Patrick Hansen, and Mitchel Cole endure a difficult workout inside Newell Boathouse.
Under the Harvard Stadium arches, John Mansfield of Building Maintenance, part of Campus Services, checks on a repair.
The Harvard Square Red Line steps are “scuro” ????? until you reach the top.
Light and sun dominate on the south side of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Huntington Avenue in Boston.