Campus & Community

Across Harvard, art you can touch

3 min read

Sculptures are time-honored members of the campus community

In the encircled garden alongside Schlesinger Library in Radcliffe Yard, the oracle Portentous receives and transmits knowledge, ancient wisdom guiding future voices. The bronze sculpture by Marianna Pineda was dedicated to Constance E. Smith, the first dean of Radcliffe Institute for Independent Study (1961-1970).

“The physical form is set off or liberated from normal worldly boundaries. The feet are not connected to the ground. They are kind of floating. And the arms are kind of out of control,” observes sculptor and artist Nora Schultz, assistant professor of Visual and Environmental Studies. “It is shifting into another sphere, where gesture, gravity, and weight mean something different.”

Portentous is just one of the outdoor sculptures — cast in bronze, carved from marble, or chiseled from stone — that dot the campus, inviting contemplation, inciting inspiration, at times challenging perception. They occupy both public and private spaces, silent but monumental parts of the Harvard-Radcliffe community.

“Every day you go this way to work or school, you always pass the same object and you develop a certain relationship with it. You see how it changes with different seasons,” Schultz said. “They can really influence phases of your life in a certain way.”

An aspect of Oracle: Portentous by Marianna Pineda, which sits beside the Schlesinger Library on the grounds of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Presence by Mary Frank is at Hamilton Hall at Harvard Business School.
The marble stele Harvard Bixi sits outside Widener Library.
Night Wall I by Louise Nevelson is at Hauser Hall at Harvard Law School.
Latent (e)Scapes by Christina Geros MAUD, M.L.A. ’15, lights up Radcliffe Yard.
An untitled 2003 work by Joel Shapiro at Morgan Hall at Harvard Business School.
Over the Earth by Tony Cragg is at the Dean’s House at Harvard Business School.
Daniel Chester French’s ever-popular John Harvard Statue in front of University Hall draws crowds of visitors.
A fountain in Radcliffe’s Sunken Garden.
Alexander Calder’s Onion adorns the Pusey Library.
Katherine Ward Lane Weems’ rhinoceroses Vicky and Bess flank the doors at the Biological Laboratories.
Red, Blue by Ellsworth Kelly is at Peabody Terrace.
A Chinese lion stands guard in front of the Harvard-Yenching Library.
Surfacing Stone by Martin Bechthold at Gund Hall at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Peter Walker designed the Tanner Fountain at the Science Center.
Child Hall at Harvard Law School.
Appropriately, Myron’s Discobolus welcomes athletes to the Hemenway Gymnasium.
A reproduction of the bronze lion erected in the 12th century in the castle square in Brunswick by Duke Henry is now at the Center for European Studies.
The Peabody Museum has a replica of a classic Maya stele from the ruins of Copan.