Face to Face: Portraits of Museum Animals by Jana Matusz

What if museum animals were suddenly to come to life? Jana Matusz, an accomplished Massachusetts-based painter and founding sketching facilitator volunteer with the museum, has explored this with expressive prints, based on original paintings, that animate animals found in the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Jana Matusz’s portraits use vibrant color and texture to give life and voice to the faces of animal specimens otherwise frozen in time and space. Made with love and reverence for the animals she paints, Jana has imbued each with a personality all its own.

As Jana painted these portraits, she felt she made a connection with each animal. Jana hasn’t said exactly what they revealed to her. Take part in our “caption challenge” on social and answer the question, “What do these animal portraits say to you?”

Check our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to engage with us, and share your inventive caption! Use our #facetofacehmnh hashtag to follow the results!

Read a Q & A with Jana Matusz.

Painting of a lion cub.

Lion Cub

Found in the Africa Gallery

Painting of the Greater Rhea.

Greater Rhea

Found in the Birds of the World & South America Gallery

Painting of a Moonrat.

Moonrat

Found in the Great Mammal Hall Gallery

Turquoise-fronted Amazon

Found in the South America Gallery

Painting of a Western Red Colobus.

Western Red Colobus

Found in the Africa Gallery

Coelacanth

Found in the Romer Hall of Vertebrate Paleontology

Painting of Gray Wolf.

Gray Wolf

Found in New England Forests

Painting Hartebeest.

Hartebeest

Found in the Africa Gallery

Kestral

Found in New England Forests

Painting of the Northern Mount Viscacha.

Northern Mountain Viscacha

Found in the South America Gallery

Painting of a Warthog.

Warthog

Found in the Africa Gallery