Professor Aravi Samuel is leading a freshman seminar "Changing Perspectives” for Spring semester 2021. It is a physicist’s exploration of optical drawing aids devised during the Renaissance and afterward, and of some of the artistic works presumed to be their product.
Over the past 20 years, the Rowland Institute has hosted the Freshman seminar series, previously driven by Professor Jene Golovchenko. This year however has its differences.
Due to COVID, a portion of the optical aids under investigation have to be supplied to the students for work remotely. Chris Stokes has built and shipped the enrolled students, replicas of the Leeuwenhoek microscopes and the viewing grid copying those of DaVinci and Albrecht Dürer, and a portable camera obscura, akin to Christoph Scheiner’s.
Still being developed for further distribution are a compact camera lucida after Ingre's device, a comparator mirror, a replica of an anamorphic 'peep' show box by Samuel van Hoogstraten, and a
physiognotracer similar to one thought to be used by James Sharples for George Washington's portraits.
Further information can be found at Freshman Seminar 51x https://freshmanseminars.college.harvard.edu/classes/changing-perspectives-science-optics-visual-arts.