Speaker, Harmon Siegel, Ph.D., Junior Fellow, Harvard Society of Fellows.
Impressionism has, from the beginning, been seen as an art of nature. Today, however, in the moment we call the Anthropocene, when human projects have transformed every corner of the planet and threaten to make it uninhabitable, this commitment may seem hopelessly naive. In fact, however, impressionist paintings illuminate our condition, revealing the entanglement of nature and society. In so doing, they help us overcome nostalgia for a lost nature and recognize our responsibility for shaping the world we inhabit.