Found 556 Learning Lab Collections
Lessons in this issue of Smithsonian in Your Classroom introduce students to the rhythms of poetry. The focus is on two poetic forms that originated as forms of song: the ballad stanza, found throughout British and American literature, and the blues stanzas of Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes. Poetry is put into terms of movement, physical space, and, finally, music.
Click the PDF icon to download the issue. Click on the boxes (then click again on "View original") for audio samples of ballads and blues from the Smithsonian Folkways archives.
This collection is used to launch the novel "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer." This is a novel which nearly defies categorization. Suskind, the writer ventures into a creative territory few students read in high school. Instead of beginning the unit with general background and context about the novel, we begin from an emotional point - - what emotions and experiences are prompted by the setting, mood, atmosphere, etc.? Below are the general steps we follow: #SAAMteach
1. Pairs of students are each given two different paintings (I have a very small class - 12 students - - and choose to give each group two in order to cover more; however, you could easily do this with a class of 24 and each group of two has one painting.)
2. Each group has a graphic organizer which is a modified "See/Think/Wonder" format, coupled with a brainstorming opportunity regarding the emotions generated by this painting. They're given approximately 10 minutes to work their way through the paintings and complete the lists for each, as they discuss, etc. I print out the pictures for them because I don't want them to see the titles and any additional information they may find online.
3. When they have about 10 minutes, the students each have an opportunity to walk their classmates through the paintings and then open up the floor for a discussion about the emotions conveyed through this work.
4. We keep a running list of these emotions on the board. Some that have surfaced include: confusion, disgust, loneliness, repugnance, helplessness, panic, anger, fear... Next to this list we wrote some overall concepts, such as abstract mixed with realism, abandonment, intimidation, and disconnect...
5. When completed, I'll lead the conversation to a discussion about how these very same emotions are reflected by and presented within the novel...but like the paintings, in very unique ways. I choose my words carefully so as not to give the entire first few chapters away, but at the same time, offering them a preview. We then read the first two paragraphs out loud, and discuss how so many of the elements noted on the board are present already.
6. They're then assigned Chapters 1, 2, and 3 to read, with a "list" of suggested items to watch for, annotate, etc. as they complete their first close reading of the novel. (This assignment is attached.)
7. Part II involves writing in response to one of the paintings, completed after students have read the novel. (See Google Doc directions)
Some “artistic” food for thought...
“There can be different, competing, and contradictory interpretations of the same artwork. An artwork is not necessarily about what the artist wanted it to be about.” – Terry Barrett, Criticizing Art: Understanding the Contemporary
“Our interest in the painting grows only when we forget its title and take an interest in the things that it does not mention…” – Françoise Barbe-Gall, How to Look at a Painting
Please see attached Google Doc for complete assignment directions.
People, Place and Time: How Art Reflects Culture - Caja De Memoria Viva II: Constancia Colón de Clemente by Adrián Román (
In this collection, designed for a Spanish-speaking classroom, students will explore how art reflects culture when analyzing “Caja De Memoria Viva II: Constancia Colón de Clemente” by Adrian “Viajero” Román. In this three-dimensional multimedia installation, the artist portrays a black Puerto Rican woman who migrated to the United States in the 1940s. This portrait allows the artist (in his own words) “ to embark on a quest to visually represent how precious our memories are and capture the dignity in the people’s struggle and validate their existence.” The collection includes a teacher's guide in English and suggested authentic resources both in Spanish and English to be adapted by teachers of multiple disciplines.
Students will observe and analyze this three dimensional work of art and they will describe both its exterior and interior. Students will create their own box to reflect their heritage and personal story or that of a Hispanic figure.
This collection is one of three that explore “People, Place, and Time: How Art Reflects Culture.” Products, practices and perspectives displayed in Latinx art, show how our place and history (past) influence who we are (present) and who we want to be (future) in geographical, social, economic, and/or historical contexts. In the three collections, Latin American works of art illustrate how culture shapes the way we see the world, others, and ourselves, and they also raise awareness about Latinx diversity.
The three collections were created by Marcela Velikovsky (Bullis School) and Vicky Masson (Christ Episcopal School) as part of the 2018 Smithsonian Virtual Teacher Curricula Creation Opportunity with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA), and thanks to the Smithsonian Latino Center's Latino Initiative Pool Funds. The three collections highlight Latino history, art and culture,and use Harvard Project Zero Thinking Routines and Global Thinking Routines strategies.
The Smithsonian Learning Lab collections provide an opportunity to invigorate the World Language (Foreign Language) curriculum as it allows to effectively integrate online museum resources (authentic resources) towards a 21st century curriculum. They facilitate student-centered activities within a variety of themes such as, family and communities, personal and public identities, social values and customs, holidays and celebrations, immigration, ethnic groups, Hispanic Heritage, image and stereotypes, inequality and discrimination, global issues, religious practices, etc. They also provide the opportunity to analyze art, read portraiture, and investigate art media.
These collections also consider ACTFL standards (Communication, Connections, Comparisons, Communities and Culture), Asia Society Global Competence skills, the Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals), Teaching Tolerance Social Justice standards, the Framework for Developing Global and Cultural Competencies to Advance Equity, Excellence and Economic competitiveness, and Participate Global Competencies.
# National Portrait Gallery #The Outwin # Adrián “Viajero” Román # Caja de Memoria Viva II # Spanish # Puerto Rico # New York # Empathy # Inequality # Critical thinking # Curiosity # Heritage # Stories #LatinoHAC
This collection represents the women of the Ancient Times who made a difference in their respective civilizations.
Those female figures held powerful roles, and played significantly influential parts in the domains traditionally held by men. Their names are still known today.
Enheduanna, the earliest known poet, helped her father to unite the Akkadians and the Sumerians through poetry, while Sappho, brought us a lyrical poetry, she would talk about love, feelings, and woman (from a woman’s point of view). Her poetry was unlike others; previous and current poets at the time were male and wrote about events that focused on the Gods and men in general.
Queen Nefertiti together with her husband united Egyptian people under one god, the Sun God.
Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh of Egypt, secured her position—and her Egypt’s independence—through her influence over Roman leaders Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, some of the most powerful Western men of the time
Artemisia of Halicarnassus, also known as Artemisia I of Caria, is credited with persuading Persian King Xerxes to abandon his invasion of Greece.
As we can see, ancient history has many strong female figures, and their names echo down history to the present day.
This video series, Explore with Smithsonian Experts, connects students and teachers with the skill and technique of Smithsonian experts who describe their work at our nation's museums. In each short film, experts introduce new ways to observe, record, research and share, while using real artifacts and work experiences.
Keywords: entomology, arthropod, insects, beetles, ants, scientific method, verification, President Abraham Lincoln, March on Washington, The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur Wright, flight, astrophotography, cosmos, astronomy, abstract art, El Anatsui, portraits, portraiture, President George Washington, Gertrude Stein, Gordon, Pocahontas, LL Cool J, Kehinde Wiley, Nicholasa Mohr, Dolores Huerta, Puerto Rico, Luis Muñoz Marín, Rudolfo Anaya, urban photography, Shifting States: Iraq, Luis Cruz Azaceta, choreography, dance, Japanese American incarceration (internment) camps, World War II, Queen Kapi'olani, Hawaii, diplomacy, Ecuadorian boat seat, Anansi spider, Ángel Suárez Rosado, baseball, Latino community
I use this specific "Raven" lesson with 10th grade American Lit students who have some prior knowledge of Poe. This particular class has already read "The Tell Tale Heart," additionally, they have a strong understanding of the qualities associated with Dark Romantic style - having read The Scarlet Letter and Young Goodman Brown, in addition to The Tell Tale Heart. This particular poem also comes on the heals of completing the Emily Dickinson unit, so therefore they have a good grasp of what is required when you're explicating a poem, what steps to follow, etc. This particular "Raven" lesson takes approximately two 45 minute class periods. Step by step for the lesson is featured below in the "notes" section. #SAAMTeach
Women in mid-twentieth century and after made an enormous impact not only in arts, but also in literary forms.
Matisse's Tea, which starts this collection shows the contrasting use of color, pattern, and line on Marguerite and Henriette creating a feeling of imbalance in the piece. This piece confronts the viewer with the tension between restraint and nature.
This tension is taken to a different form in the artists displayed here.
Simone de Beauvoir, uses in promoting feminism, according to Simone de Beauvoir, women do not choose to think about their bodies and bodily processes negatively; rather they are forced to do so as a result of being embedded in a hostile patriarchal society. Andy Warhol , creator of Pop Art, used multiple images of American icon, Marilyn Monroe to produce art.
Another artist, Judy Chicago wanted to demonstrate women's achievements through history in the collaborated installation The Dinner Party. Her goal was to ensure that this tribute to women becomes a permanent part of our cultural heritage.
The tragic killings of the Jews was largely ignored by journalists during the Holocaust due to the widespread anti semitism that flourished during this time. A surprising percentage of Americans openly displayed their opposition to the Jews. Private schools, camps, colleges, resorts, and places of employment all imposed restrictions and quotas against Jews, often quite blatantly. Influential figures such as Henry Ford criticized their character and patriotism. At their peak, the Bund held a rally in Madison Square Garden packed with 20,000 people to hear speeches, which was largely covered by prominent newspapers. Other newspapers justify their lack of coverage due to the "ambiguous information" supplied. The huge death polls given to them was simply too insufferable for them to believe. In some cases, they would report on them on neglected parts of the newspaper which were not seen by many. However there is reason to believe they knew much more about the Holocaust than what they printed. Although the Holocaust deserved more attention then given, Jewish newspapers reported the truths of the genocide in an effort to gain support by exposure. In some findings, newspapers covered the Jewish tragedies with sympathy through photographs, stamps, and cartoons. American media’s disregard for the magnitude of the genocide at the time is relevant when looking at the context and environment in which these were published. With the rising population of Neo-Nazis, it evident that we have forgotten “never forget”. With the help of education and awareness of the Holocaust, it will ensure a terror like this will never happen again.
This collection will examine examples of art as a form of communication between the human and spiritual worlds. These forms of communication may include examples of direct communication — in which an individual or group uses art to speak to and influence the spiritual world — as well as examples that serve to document practices, beliefs, and the place of spiritual practices in society at large.
The form and focus of these communications expressed through art can help to explain the values of particular cultures or individuals, or may serve to question or enforce certain cultural beliefs. This type of art may be the expression of the needs of a social group or culture, such as prehistoric cave paintings that might have functioned in rituals to ensure successful hunts or plentiful game. It may serve to enforce a political agenda such as the Law Code of Hammurabi. Or it may express an individual's personal interpretation and experience of spirituality such as the illustrated poetry of William Blake. However, form does not always imply the expected function: the 19th century English painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti sometimes drew on religious subjects or themes and much of his work has a mysterious and mystical atmosphere. Yet Rossetti, describing his spiritual beliefs, called himself an “art Catholic,” implying that if he engaged in a spiritual dialog through his art, it was with art itself (Faxon, 1989).
This collection will look at examples
from the prehistoric era through the early 20th century. These
examples help to contextualize the inner lives of individuals, and
the collective inner life of the cultures, their environments, wants,
needs, and values, to foster a greater appreciation of and respect
for these peoples and cultures.
Although there is only limited firm evidence of the purpose of cave art found at sites such as Lascaux, Chauvet, and Les Trois-Frères, scholars generally agree that it served some religious purpose. Various theories have been proposed to provide more specific explanations. Cave art, particularly Paleolithic cave art, depicts almost exclusively animals. Hunting was crucial to the survival of early humans, and it is possible that the images were created as part of hunting rituals. Images of animals superimposed over each other many have represented fertility rituals aimed at increasing the amount of game animals. Some images appear to have been deliberately scratched or gouged with spearheads — in some cases blood was painted flowing from these wounds — suggesting that the images may have been intended as a type of sympathetic magic giving hunters power over and protection from large and dangerous animals (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
Other images are less easy to explain and have given rise to controversial theories such as the bird-faced human figure in the Lascaux Shaft Scene, that combine elements of humans with other animals in a single figure. The Shaft Scene appears to describe a narrative although the exact meaning is not completely clear. A wounded bison stands ready to charge; the animals intestines appear to be pouring out of its abdomen and a spear is shown near its hindquarters. In front of the bison is a stick figure human with a bird's face. The human figure appears to have fallen or been knocked over. Just below this odd figure is a line topped by a bird, perhaps an object belonging to the bird-faced man. This figure and others that combine humans and other animals into one figure such as The Sorcerer in Les Trois-Freres may document early humans' mythology, and could suggest the origins of certain beliefs and practices (Curtis, 2006).
The meaning of the Law Code of Hammurabi is less ambiguous — the spiritual and the legal/political aspects of the culture are united. The stele dates to approximately 1760 BCE and is divided into two sections. The lower section, which takes up the majority of the stele, consists of the code of laws in effect at the time. The relief at the top depicts the Babylonian king Hammurabi receiving the laws from the god Shamash. The implication is clear: the law itself is a religious document and the social rules it describes are the will of the gods — and Hammurabi whose authority is bolstered by the approval of the gods (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
The spiritual is not always a numinous experience in a cave. Some early laws and social codes were framed as divine communications that enforce social norms and rules — even now, witnesses in courts are generally sworn in by placing their hand on a Bible. Communication with the spiritual in examples such as the Law Code of Hammurabi is aimed at establishing and enforcing order and lending it a weight of legitimacy. It is as critical for the members of an urban culture, such as Babylon, to abide by rules to maintain peace with their neighbors as it was for the Paleolithic peoples to ensure successful hunts. And, kings such as Hammurabi believed it was critical to protect their power. By aligning themselves with gods, they could borrow some of the gods' power in the minds of the people and make rebellion or betrayal a kind of sacrilege. Hammurabi, in fact, was declared a god in his own lifetime (Van De Mieroop, 2005).
Music may also function as a form of communication between gods and humans. In pharaonic Egypt, religious festivals appear to have prominently involved music and dance. Music may have been used in religious rituals to communicate with the gods, invoke deities, or as a medium to transmit offerings. Some instruments were associated with specific deities: the sistrum with Hathor and Isis and the tambourine with Bes. Sistrums may have been played during rituals associated with Hathor to invoke her — and to placate her. Although images of deities playing musical instruments are relatively rare in Egyptian art, Bes is frequently depicted dancing and playing a tambourine. Unlike the other gods, Bes used music to communicate with humans. Bes was associated with the home and family — the front rooms of Egyptian homes appear to have contained shrines to Bes — and he remained a popular deity among the people throughout Egypt's history. Bes was believed to protect people, particularly women in childbirth, by playing music to frighten away evil spirits. Amulets of Bes dancing and playing a tambourine appear to have been a common type of protective amulet worn around the neck. It is worth noting that depictions of Bes differ markedly from depictions of most other Egyptian deities: he is represented in lively motion. In contrast to the image of Egyptian religion based primarily on royal tombs and, therefore, focused on death and the elite members of society, Bes was closely tied to life and the lives of common people (Simmance, n.d.).
Composed by the poet Valmiki in India the fifth century BCE, the Rāmāyana relates the deeds and adventures of Rama, an avatar of Vishnu. According to J. L. Brockington, in Indian tradition the Rāmāyana is designated the ādikāvya, which may be translated as “the first poetic work,” and is regularly referred to as being sung as opposed to spoken in contrast to the Mahābhārata. In one version of the framework story introducing the Rāmāyana, Rama is described as the perfect human being. His behavior is therefore worth emulating, and it is likely that as early as the first millennium BCE that was in a sense being done literally through plays and dances reenacting the story (Brockington, 1998). In that sense, the Rāmāyana represents a complex, evolving dialog, a lived experience of both artistic and spiritual expression.
Euripides' tragic drama The Bacchae is another example of theater acting as a complex dialog between the human and the spiritual worlds. The plot of The Bacchae revolves around the arrival of the god Dionysos in the city of Thebes where his ecstatic worship is opposed by Pentheus, the king of Thebes. As Segal writes, the play is morally ambiguous and may have been designed to implicate the audience in the action. Although Dionysos is a disturbance to Thebes, Pentheus' response is heavy-handed and unsympathetic. However, as the drama unfolds, the audience that may have been rooting for Dionysos is confronted with a climax that sees the god orchestra Pentheus' gruesome death. It is important to note that Dionysos was a well-established and liked god in Athens and that Classical Greek drama was written to be performed during annual festivals in Dionysos' honor. As Vellacott writes, during the festival a statue of Dionysos was brought from a shrine to the amphitheater to watch the plays. As Segal notes, it is unlikely that the play is meant to be critical of Dionysos (his actual worship was much more restrained than depicted in the play or the myths it was based on) but its presentation, at a fundamentally religious festival with the god literally in the audience, could not but have sparked another dialog within the audience, a reflection on their relationship to the god and the sometimes overwhelming forces he represents.
Temple of Isis at Pompeii declares both the strength of her
worshipers' belief and the endurance of her cult in the face of
repeated official sanctions. The temple was damaged in an earthquake
in 62 AD but was rebuilt by the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in
79 AD; in fact, it was the only civic building in that area of
Pompeii that had been completely rebuilt (Hackworth, 2006).
The apparent preference for a foreign goddess in a Roman city is all
the more significant in light of imperial persecutions and
prohibitions against her worship dating back to Augustus and coming
to a head in 19 CE when Emperor Tiberius exiled thousands of freedmen
who were adherents of the religion (Heyob, 1975). However, the cult
of Isis continued to flourish. By the time of Pompeii's destruction,
her worship appears to have included individuals from all classes of
society, from members of the imperial family and municipal officials
to freedmen and slaves (Takacs, 1995). The remains of the temple can
still be seen on the original site and at the nearby Museo
Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Although Egyptian decoration was
incorporated in the design of the temple and cult objects, the plan
of the building and the style of the frescoes was Roman (Moorman,
2011). The navigium Isidis fresco appears to show a distinctly
Egyptian scene, Isis resurrecting her husband-brother Osiris, but in
a purely Roman style. The Pompeiian worshipers of Isis were part of
Roman culture but may have been seeking an opportunity to engage in
personally meaningful spiritual communication outside of the
state-sectioned venues and deified emperors (Hackworth, 2006).
Early Buddhist art avoided direct representations of the Buddha. The first iconic representations of the Buddha were likely not created until approximately the 2nd century CE in the area of Gandhara, in modern-day Pakistan, under the influence of the Kushan emperors. After their conversion to Buddhism, the Kushan produced distinctive images of the Buddha that drew on Greco-Roman traditions while creating an iconographically unique image that was clearly identifiable as the Buddha (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
Many of these early sculptures of the Buddha depict a serene, sublime figure, perfectly proportioned and untouched by time or the rigors of his life. However, a small group of statues presents a radically different image of the Buddha. One of these statues, Fasting Buddha, created between the 2nd and 4th centuries CE, depicts the physical effects of the Buddha's forty-five days of fasting and meditation before achieving enlightenment. In an interview with Hyperallergic in 2016 when Fasting Buddha was seen publicly at an Auctionata sale, Dr. Arne Sildatke, Auctionata's head of Asian art, explained that although the Fasting Buddha and similar images can be compared to depictions of the crucified Jesus Christ, the Buddhas are not images of death and resurrection. Instead, they are meant to communicate to followers Buddhism the concepts of self-empowerment and the overcoming of suffering, according to Sildatke. Despite the figure's protruding bones, sunken stomach, and hollow face, the image expresses the strength of the Buddha's will (Voon, 2016).
The Ajanta caves in Maharashta state, India, contain some of the finest examples of Indian Buddhist art and represent several centuries of complex artistic spiritual expression. The caves were created as a monastery and decorated in the Gupta style of sculpture and painting. The Gupta style moved away from the Greco-Roman influence and embraced a more fully Indian style in which characteristics of physical beauty associated with Indian art are adapted to symbolize spiritual beauty (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
The monks' work on the caves was likely supported during its later phase by wealthy patrons, including the 5th century CE Emperor Harisena and his courtiers. These patrons sponsored the construction and ornamentation of specific caves to honor the Buddha and earn religious merit, as well as worldly praise, for themselves. According to Spink, Cave 1, created in the late 5th century CE, was sponsored by Harisena. Cave 1 contains some of the most sumptuous and well-preserved murals in Ajanta. It is likely that these images, including the Bodhisattva Padmapani, are so well-preserved because Cave 1 was never used for worship. Spink theorizes that Cave 1 was not used because Harisena died suddenly before the cave could be dedicated. An undedicated cave could not be used for worship; therefore, if the cave was indeed left undedicated, Harisena would not have achieved the religious merit he desired (Spink, 2008). In that case, Harisena's attempt to communicate with the spiritual, to have his faith validated, and his attempt to communicate his spiritual virtue to the human world were both left unfulfilled.
Rich ornament and stylization was also used to signify spirituality in European Christian manuscript paintings. As Christianity spread through Europe, representations were adapted to the local Celto-Germanic styles, which bore more in common with the luxurious, symbolic, and stylized Byzantine art than the naturalistic Greco-Roman tradition. The Book of Kells is an illuminated gospel created c. 800 CE by Irish monks. A figure of St. John on one folio is an exercise in elaborate stylization, a purely two-dimensional figure made up of patterns of decorative lines, emphasizing the image's spiritual rather than physical reality (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
An illuminated gospel such as the Book of Kells was not merely a book — as the chalice used in Mass is not merely a cup — it was created as a sacred object (Calkins, 1983). Like the images in Chauvet cave or the ceremonial sistra used in Egyptian religious ceremonies, it formed part of the necessary accouterments of communication with the spiritual. And, therefore, its form and image took precedence over its physical practicality (Calkins, 1983). In that light, the entire object itself, not only individual folios, can be seen as a translation of spiritual experiences and a vehicle for spiritual communion.
Liturgical music has been a key part of Christian ritual since the earliest days of the religion. Most early Christian music was woven into the services and often consisted of chants based exclusively on scripture. Over time, the scope of music in Christianity grew and original pieces were composed. One notable composer in the Early Middle Ages was Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Beginning in early childhood, Hildegard experienced intense visions. She entered a community of nuns when she was eight and became a poet, composer, and playwright (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
Hildegard also wrote several books detailing her mystical visions and theological instructions derived from them. One of these, Scivias, contained sections that Hildegard later adapted to the Ordo Virtutum, a sacred music drama (King-Lenzmeier, 2001). The plot revolves around the struggle between the devil and the Virtues for a human soul. The Ordo was not written to be performed as part of the Mass or liturgy and does not depict biblical events: the allegorical story is adapted directly from her personal visionary experiences (Potter, 1986). When performing the Ordo, the nuns were embodying and participating in Hildegard's visions by bringing these invisible spiritual experiences into the human world (Davidson, 1992).
The Unicorn Tapestries were made in Brussels c. 1500 and depict the hunt, capture, and death of a unicorn. The tapestries may have been made as a wedding gift and may have been intended to communicate a multilayered message that combined romance and fertility with Christian doctrine (Benton & DiYanni, 2012). The chivalric tradition of courtly love had introduced the idea that romantic love was a symbol of God's love: Marie de France's Eliduc employs this symbolism to suggest that when two individuals loved each other completely they could leave each other for God, separating to live in different religious communities (Potkay, 1994). In The Unicorn Tapestries, Margaret B. Freedman explores the complex interweaving of secular and religious messages encoded in the tapestries, including references that syncretize polytheistic deities into Christian mythology. For example, the fountain in the tapestries may be a symbol of the Virgin Mary, who was compared to a fountain in many medieval hymns, as well as Venus and Cupid, who were frequently depicted holding court in gardens dominated by a fountain. The highly detailed flora in several of the tapestries also simultaneously references Christ and Venus. In Freedman's analysis, the tapestries can be understood as symbolizing and communicating the doctrines and values of the overlapping Christian god of heaven and the god of love, a concept that was well-established by the late medieval period. In the context of the tapestries as a wedding gift, this dual meaning is perfectly appropriate to express, reminding the newlyweds of their spiritual, personal, and social duties and rewards.
In 15th century Florence, a renewed interest in and availability of Classical Greek and Roman scholarship fueled the development of Neoplatonism, a new school of philosophy that sought to merge the principles espoused by the Classical Greek philosopher Plato and the Roman philosopher Plotinus with Christian spirituality. Platonism and Christianity are dualistic and perceive a separation between the physical and the spiritual that humans should strive to breach. According to Neoplatonist thought, this could be done by recognizing the spark of the divine — the work of God — in beautiful things in the physical world; therefore, the love of beauty was a form of worship (Benton & DiYanni, 2012). Florentine Renaissance ideals of beauty were heavily indebted to Greco-Roman traditions that emphasized harmony, rationality, and balance. Therefore, in art and architecture, this could be performed by using geometry as a symbol.
The elaborate geometrical floor pavings in the Medicis' private chapel, the Chapel of the Magi, may be a deliberate geometric code that communicated Neoplatonic ideals and functioned as a type of devotional communication. Cosimo de' Medici, who commissioned the chapel, and several of the artists and architects involved in the design and construction of it were closely involved with the founding of the Accademia Platonica in Florence, an influential group of scientists, artists, and philosophers and which was the cradle of Neoplatonism. The chapel's pavings following distinctive, complex geometrical patterns and ratios tied to Neoplatonic thought. The chapel was constructed for the use of the Medici family and those close to them — it was not intended as a place of worship for the public. Therefore, the Medicis and the artists, scientists, and intellectuals close to them could freely express in a precise geometric language certain beliefs and modes of thinking that were not completely orthodox. In the carefully measured, sumptuous marble pavings of the chapel, they could demonstrate theories of elevated scientific and religious though: divine harmony communicated through mathematics (Bartoli, 1994).
The 17th century English poet John Donne combined sexual language and spiritual subject matter to express his concept of ecstatic love. In this concept, an individual achieves unity of body and soul and reaches spiritual truths through sexual union with another individual they love. The soul is capable of awareness and growth only through love, and during sex the souls of the individuals mingle, each soul gaining greater knowledge of itself in relation to the body. The individual is then a complete self: a being that is a synthesis of its physical and spiritual aspects (Thommen, 2014).
This concept is described in Donne's poem "The Extasie":
see by this it was not sex,
We see we saw not what did move;
But as all several souls contain
Mixture of things, they know not what,
Love these mix’d souls doth mix again
And makes both one, each this and that
“The Extasie,” therefore, communicates Donne's own understanding and experience of spiritual communion. Like the Neoplatonics, Donne's efforts to interact with the spiritual are focused on resolving the perceived conflict between the physical and the spiritual by seeking the divine in the physical — but uniting body and soul by being united with another individual.
Communication with the spiritual is also blended with sensuality in Gianlorenzo Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa (1645-52). The subject of the sculpture, St. Teresa of Avila, was famous for her ecstatic visions as described in her writing, particularly her c. 1567 Autobiography. Teresa described a process of mental prayer that resulted in spiritual union with God and produced visions and intense physical and emotional responses. As quoted by Thommen, Eleanor McCann pointed out that St. Teresa and Donne's descriptions of communication with the spiritual through the experience of physical ecstasy and union are, despite the author's differences, remarkably similar.
Bernini's sculpture is based on the episode from St. Teresa's Autobiography when an angel appeared to her and thrust a golden spear into her heart, producing an intense pain and an “infinite sweetness” that she described as the “sweetest caressing of the soul by God” (Benton & DiYanni, 2012). The sculpture, therefore, is in the interesting position of relating mystical communication third hand. Unlike the nuns in Hildegard of Bingen's community, Bernini had no direct contact with St. Teresa and his translation of her experience was inevitably colored by his own experiences and personality and the preferences of his patron. Although Bernini emphasized the sensuality of St. Teresa's experience, the sculpture occupies a supernatural sphere, distinct from the related sculpturing groupings that are placed firmly in the physical world and the space occupied by the viewer (Wittkower, 1980). The viewer is invited to witness the point of contact and communication between the physical and the spiritual (Boucher, 1998).
In The Book of Urizen, published in 1794, English poet and painter William Blake communicated a profoundly personal, visionary spirituality that expressed his major moral and philosophical concerns. Blake, like Hildegard of Bingen and St. Teresa of Avila, experienced visions. He saw himself as a prophet and believed that the duty of a poet was “To open the Eternal Worlds, to open the immortal Eyes of Man inwards into the Worlds of Thought” (Benton & DiYanni, 2012).
The Book of Urizen is a creation myth structured along the lines of Genesis but with Blake's Urizen in place of God. Urizen is a god of reason and logic and law — a deity of pure materialism, enslaved and enslaving who creates the world so that he may have something to rule. Urizen represents both dogmatic, essentially materialistic religious laws and Newtonian reason. To Blake, these were both forces that blind humans to the spiritual by trapping and circumscribing human imagination, thereby preventing them from communicating with the spiritual, creative world that would otherwise be their birthright (Frye, 1990). By creating The Book of Urizen and his other illuminated books of poetry and painting, Blake attempted to communicate his experience of the spiritual and warn of the consequences of either rejecting personal communication with the spiritual and imagination or of ceding that direct, personal experience to a higher, worldly authority.
Communication between the human and the spiritual is not always easy nor does a familiar form always imply the expected function. These points are illustrated in the works of the English poet Christina Rossetti and her brother the painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Christina was deeply religious and often used her poetry to explore both the rewards and struggle she associated with faith. Unlike St. Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, or William Blake, Christina's experience of the spiritual was not mystical. Rather than communicating with the spiritual through ecstatic visionary experiences, Christina's efforts to communicate and achieve union with the spiritual were the result of the effort of her faith, and that effort, and her doubts, are expressed in her poetry. In “Alas, my Lord,” (1874), Christina describes the difficulty of this process and expresses her doubts as well as her desire for spiritual affirmation — some communication, a response from the spiritual, that her efforts are not in vain (Avery, 2014).
Alas my Lord,
How should I wrestle all the livelong night
With Thee my God, my Strength and my Delight?
How can it need
So agonized an effort and a strain
To make Thy Face of Mercy shine again?
How can it need
Such wringing out of breathless prayer to move
Thee to Thy wonted Love, when Thou art Love?
In contrast, her brother Dante Gabriel was not a practicing Christian, although he used Christian iconography and language, particularly in his early works. Dante Gabriel referred to himself as an “Art Catholic,” implying that his interest in the imagery of encounters with the spiritual was largely aesthetic (Faxon, 1989). In addition, he often used Christian iconography and language in the context of secular love poems (Roe, 2010). In Dante Gabriel's art, such as The Girlhood of Mary Virgin (1848-1849), representations of the spiritual were not strictly religious but rather an iconographical shorthand for the artist's sincere, personal communication with their imagination. Particularly in his early career when he identified as a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he believed that medieval art was more sincere, more closely connected to the natural world, in opposition to the British Academic tradition embodied by Sir Joshua Reynolds, which he believed was formulaic and insincere (Faxon, 1989). Therefore, the religious subject matter so prominent in medieval art took on a new meaning and the spiritual was transferred from the Christian God to the artist's quest for genuine inspiration.
The Dream of Geronitus, Op. 38, composed by Edward Elgar in 1900, is a powerful sonic portrait of an encounter with the spiritual. Set to the text of a poem by John Henry Newman, it describes the death of a man, Gerontius, and his soul's journey to the throne of God to receive judgment. A dramatic and technically challenging piece, it explores communication with the spiritual as a psychologically complex, and not always pleasant, experience. The rapture Gerontius experiences is counterpointed by the appearance of devils and his own doubts that his soul is worthy to face God. The Judgment scene, in fact, depicts that ultimate communication with the spiritual as an almost unbearable experience. For the scene when Gerontius beholds the glance of God and receives judgment, the score instructs: “For one moment, must every instrument exert its fullest force.” (Burton, 2003).
In 1974, The Dream of Gerontius figured heavily in Penda's Fen, a film written by David Rudken and directed by Alan Clarke for the BBC. The film's protagonist Stephen, writes about The Dream of Gerontius in the beginning of the film, which then unravels his nationalist and orthodox Christian certainty through visionary experiences that lead him to reject his former beliefs. Stephen's encounters with the spiritual challenge the priggish patriotism and the national and moral myth he embraced, embodied by a middle-aged couple who have successfully campaigned to ban a film exploring Jesus as a man rather than as a god. At one point Stephen plays the Judgment scene from The Dream of Gerontius on the organ in his father's church, triggering a vision of cracks appearing in the church floor, the crucified body of Jesus, and a voice commanding Stephen to unchain Jesus from the strictures of conservative Christianity. Later, he experiences a vision of King Penda, the last pagan king of England, and, grasping that his culture is ultimately a hybrid one comprised of a mingling of various religions, languages, and peoples, rejects his former beliefs (Sandhu, 2014). The experience is as unsettling for the viewer as it is for Stephen. in Penda's Fen the spiritual intrudes on assumptions and certainties and by irrupting reality leads both Stephen and the viewer to question their assumptions and demands that they take part in a wider, richer communication with the spiritual and the world.
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River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Boucher, B. (1998). Italian Baroque sculpture. London: Thames & Hudson.
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Burton, J. (2003). The Dream of Gerontius - Sir Edward Elgar
(1857-1934). Retrieved from
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books of the Middle Ages. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
Curtis, G. B. (2006). The cave painters: Probing the mysteries of the world's first artists. (2006). New York: Knopf.
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performance: Hildegard of Bingen's Ordo Virtutum. In The Ordo
Virtutum of Hildegard of Bingen: Critical studies (p. 1-29).
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Faxon, A. C. (1989). Dante Gabriel Rossetti. New York: Abbeville Press.
Freeman, Margaret B. (1983). The Unicorn Tapestries. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Hackworth, P., L. (2006). The freedman in Roman art and art history. Oxford: Cambridge University Press.
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of Bingen: An integrated vision. Collegeville, Minnesota: The
Moorman, E., M. (2011). Divine interiors: Mural paintings in Greek and Roman sanctuaries. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press.
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of Romantic Allegory in Marie de France's Eliduc," Medieval
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Rossetti to Ruskin (p, xvii-xxxvi). London: Penguin.
Sandhu, S. (2014). Penda’s Fen: A lasting vision of heresy and
pastoral horror. The Guardian. Retrieved from
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Simmance, E. (n.d.) Communication through music in ancient Egyptian religion. University of Birmingham. Retrieved 2/4/2019 from https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/connections/Essays/ESimmance.aspx.
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2008. WatlerSpink. Retrieved February 22, 2019, from https://www.walterspink.com/ajanta/ajanta-lecture
Takacs, S., A. (1995). Isis and Sarapis in the Roman world. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Van De Mieroop, M. (2005). King Hammurabi of babylon: A biography. Hoboken: Blackwell Publishing.
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During the Middle Ages, the Church exerted the greatest influence over how women were perceived, women did not have the opportunity to raise as warriors or queens as in the Ancient Times.
The two main alternatives for a medieval woman were to marry, or to 'take the veil' and become a nun. Almost all female orders required women to live behind the walls of a monastery or within an individual cell, living a life of contemplation, prayer and work. However, there were some women, who broke with the traditional roles assigned to them in several ways during a time when women had no legal rights and were considered a man's property.
Take Heloise for example, she scandalized the 12th century France by having an love affair with her tutor. The letters she exchanged with Abelard are being read to this day, through them we follow their tragic and passionate love affair. Another women, Hildegard of Bingen is known for her writings and music, her music is still performed today, and her spiritual works are read as examples of a feminine interpretation of church and spiritual ideas.
Marie de France, was considered the most revolutionary writer of her time, as it was not common practice for women to author any texts at all, and so was Christine de Pizan, who become the first women to support herself and her children through writing after her husband died and she was left alone.
I have also included a fictional character in this collection, Sheharazad, the narrator of The One Thousand and One Nights. The female characters in the stories fight to make their own choices and live according to their beliefs about freedom, sexuality, and love, as the other women in this collection.
Understanding the nature of our own species has been one of the greatest mysteries addressed in the history of human art, philosophy, literature, and culture. This collection will present a history of man’s search for the meaning of his own character—what impulses drive man, what morals and desires construct his life, and what artwork is produced as a result of this character. Does culture impact the character of man? Does it influence the men of one culture towards a particular mindset that distinguishes it from other men, or are there foundations of character that run throughout all of mankind? By examining the way that authors, artists, and philosophers approach the study of their fellow men, we can understand not only the cultural influences that drive these questions but also the nature of the men doing the questioning.
Let us stop for a minute and think of how gender is portrayed around the world. Women were always seen as the beautiful creatures who mainly relied on their beauty alone to get what they want/need. Men, on the other hand, are the strong tough guys who can take on anything with their incredible strength. The woman stays at home doing housework and cooking, while the man is out there in the world working hard to provide for his family. These are all things we were brought up to believe about the two genders. There is a clear divide between male and female. There always has been and there always will be. However, let's shift our brain to think about how gender is portrayed in different pieces of art. With art, we are able to visually see how each gender is portrayed differently. With nude statues, the males embrace their masculinity and can openly display themselves, while the women are always needing to be more secluded and have items such as cloth covering their more "intimate" parts. Men are also visually depicted as having great strong bodies which shows that they are supposed to be the dominant character, while when a woman poses it's more graceful. These are just a few examples of how the two differ.
Through this collection we will be looking at various time periods. We will first be looking at Ancient Greek art, observing male and female nude statues, and again, seeing how they are portrayed differently. As mentioned earlier, men were fully nude while women were mildly nude. It was appropriate for women to bare some of their naked body, because women's bodies have always been seen as gracious and beautiful, but for a woman to be fully exposed would be distasteful. This concept is still seen in the modern day, for society has a problem with women showing so much skin and body and will get called derogatory names, while it's totally acceptable for a man to show all he wants. We will also see a little bit as to how men were sometimes held captive by a woman because women were portrayed as very manipulative and acting in the role of being a seductress to get what they wanted from a man with temptation.
Taking a turn, but not a turn too far away from Ancient Greek art, we will be looking at the Renaissance era. Renaissance means rebirth, and many pieces of art show this. For women, they were shown as a little bit more chubby because in that time, being more voluptuous meant you were wealthy, and wealth was considered very beautiful. Not only wealth, but also fertility. Women are child bearers, they are bringing life into the world, and that is also a beautiful thing. Women were still viewed for their beauty, and men were still viewed for their strength, but they had more of an "athletic intelligent" portrayal. They were still strong and muscular, but they were shown to not only be physically strong, but also intelligent and healthy. The biggest difference from earlier times, though, is that women were starting to be more appreciated. I feel like they were getting more light shone on them and they were displayed with children a lot, and I believe that is to show the beauty of them being able to give life to new beings in the world.
We'll also be taking a quick glance at a couple pieces of Baroque art in which women were appearing even more powerful and overshadowing men by showing that they could be just as strong as them. With women being so inferior to men in Ancient times, we can see how as times move on, they really want to grab the power from the man and become superior.
The last collection features works of art that were created during the postmodernism era in the mid-late 20th century. During this time feminist art was a big thing and was becoming more popular. Women artists were becoming more recognized and feminist groups such as the Guerrilla Girls formed to fight things such as sexism and racism in art. Much of the art during this time was geared towards showing what women can do. There was a lot of female empowerment shown in the arts, really breaking that barrier between male and female, showing that a woman can do everything that a man can do. You'll notice that a few of these works are done by feminist activists and were made for the purpose of campaigning for women's rights. A big thing that's different about this collection of art compared to the other two is the fact that they are all geared towards women. The work of art by Winslow Homer is the only one that features a man, and even then, the man is not the important subject of it; the woman is. This is because during this era, again, feminism was booming.
This collection is great for people who are interested in the subject of gender portrayals and how men and women are perceived differently. It is an interesting learning aid, because people may only believe that women and men were just treated differently in society, and perhaps didn't know that the divide between male and female was also seen in pieces of art work and in writings. It's also a great representation of what gender was like in Ancient times and how it's changed as the years and centuries progressed. It's amazing to see how, women especially, have went from not having any attention brought to them, to turning into very powerful figures in society.
While they may be little, young children are capable of deep thinking, perspective taking, sharing ideas and taking action; all skills necessary to be an active participant in society. Not only should young children be included and respected as citizens of both the local and global community, fostering these skills encourages the next generation to be invested in the betterment of society. Art is an effective and engaging catalyst to build these civic skills with young children. In this collection, educators from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center and the Quaker Valley School District share their use of artwork and thinking routines in their practice with young children. Through hearing stories, seeing examples, and engaging in model lessons, participants will experience relevant thinking routines, have opportunities to reflect on techniques presented and work cooperatively with peers as they create lessons inspired by provided artworks modeled techniques. Participants will leave the session feeling inspired and confident to incorporate art into their practice to build civic skills using demonstrated techniques.
This collections displays notable women from the ancient times who made an impact on history, starting with the first Queen of Egypt, Hatshepsut
Though most rulers in the ancient (and classical) world were men, some women wielded power and influence.
Some ruled in their own name, some influenced their world as royal consorts, but they all made an impact during the ancient times.
This collection will explore the subdivided phases of the history and culture of Greece. Around 1000 B.C.E the Greeks mainland began to forge a new civilization that would culminate in the fifth century in the achievements of Classical Athens. Greece in the intervening centuries was subdivided into several phases: the Geometric period, the Orientalizing period, a period of Greek colonization and contact with the East, and the Archaic period. Greek culture was finally able to flourish and that cultural, artistic, and political foundations of modern western civilization were laid.
Tiles in this collection will show different aspects of each historic phase of Greece. Greek mythology played an enormous role in much of their art, culture and music. Many cultural traditions come from this such as Greek myths that served as the basis for religious cults, which created a sense of community among disparate groups that comprised the Greek populace. Oral tradition of lyric poetry was well known before the first verse was written down. Lyric poetry was originally sung, accompanied by the stringed instrument and the lyre. The art in Greece was constantly showcasing their beliefs and culture throughout all forms of art.
This collection is meant to be a helpful tool for anyone who is interested in learning about how the Greeks saw the beauty in all things, along with the art periods, cultures, and artists long after Greek art had flourished. For anyone that reads it they will hopefully see the creative ways that artists have showcased many different aspects of their culture.
In recent years, antisemitism is thought to be a relatively new phenomenon. However, its roots are found much deeper in history: back to Roman times. The collection is based chronologically to follow Antisemitism from its source leading through the 21st century A.D. My expectation is that these collections will serve as a means to deepen the understanding of Antisemitism found within the Christian culture.
In the first century B.C.E. Cicero (Lawyer, writer and orator) wrote his Pro L. Flacco in defense of his client L. Valerius Flaccus. In defending his client (the governor of Asia), who was accused of embezzlement as well as corruption, Cicero accuses the Jews as the foundations for the conspiracies against his client. Cicero claims that Jews are the "variance" and go directly against the pietas (family, gods and state) Roman culture embraced. Cicero further back up his claim by stating that Roman gods don't even care for them or else the Jews city of Jerusalem would not have been conquered by the Romans and made tribute. In his work Pro L. Flacco he coined the phrase "barbara superstitio." The insult was meant to directly oppose the meaning of pietas; to oppose Rome itself. It wasn't until a century later, when Rome laid siege to Judea, that his anti-Jewish beliefs would take root.
Nearly a hundred years after Cicero first wrote his poisonous anti-Jewish work did Judea rebel against Rome. Emperor Vespasian's son Titus, constructed an army that brutally attacked the city of Jerusalem. There are several explicit records that denote Titus' relentless starvation of Jews, burning of synagogues (while Jews remained inside), outright slaughter of Jews (approximately 600,000 to 1.1 million Jews), and the remainder were sold into slavery. The sacking of Judea was extremely important to the Romans, because it signified their dominance. In celebration of this monumental event, the Arch of Titus was created to depict the sacking of Judea. In the relief, the menorah that Titus took from the Second Temple is displayed as the focus of the sculpture.
During the time of the rebellion, Tacitus constructed his Historiae (70 C.E.) where he demonized Jews for their sacrilegious views of Roman gods. Tacitus created the four pillars that formed the anti-Semitic beliefs. He stated that Jews were affluent, perverted, "out-breeding," and sacrilegious. The way in which Tacitus illuminated the Jews caused the creation of a "mythology". This anti-Jewish mythology deemed Jews as tempting people from their families, religions, and patriotism (all pietas of Roman culture) as a way of destroying all who were not Jewish.
In addition to the Arch of Titus, commemorative coins were also issued as part of the celebration. The coins depict a Roman soldier hovering over a Jewish woman. The anti-Jewish propaganda (the Arch and the coins, among others) allowed this perpetual violence to become palatable among Romans.
In light of the growing anti-Semitic violence, Titus Flavius Josephus, a Jewish scholar during the 1st century A.D., wrote his work Contra Apionem , where he attempted to combat the anti-Jewish propaganda being spewed by the Romans. Much of Josephus argument was founded on past rebellions by Jews (like that in Egypt) and combating agitated Greek philosophers (regarding the spread of Judaism).
In the following century after the conquest of Rome, Jews revolted to take back Judea. Just as the Romans created commemorative coins, so did the Jews. The rebellion was led by Simon Bar Kokhba. However, the Jews took Roman coins and filled them down before being over-struck with their own rebellious images.
Our journey of Antisemitism during the Medieval period starts with the First Crusade in 1095 through 1099. During the First Crusade Christians attacked the Jew's sacred city, Jerusalem, taking the city as theirs. The First Crusade began to recall (if it ever went away) the Roman pillars against Jews. Until the year 1100 Jews were indistinguishable from Christians in artwork. In the early 1100's Jews were given pointed hats to differentiate them in paintings.
The hatred of Jews began to rise in England with the mutilated dead body of William of Norwich in 1144. The crazy rumors surrounding his mutilation formed the myth known as Blood Libel. The myth of the blood libel was seen as the slaughter of young Christian children, where Jews used their blood for religious rites. Not long after, starting in 1150, Jews were demonized in art as well.
The fear of Jews ran rampant throughout Europe. Christians even began to publicly display their hatred on the churches themselves. In 1240, the construction of Notre Dame included statues of Synogoga and Ecclesia, latin for Synagogue and Church. The two women represented more than just the names, they also represented the Christians view on the Jewish religion. Synogoga is depicted as wearing a helmet that covers her eyes (for her inability to "see" the truth), slouching, holding a broken spear (represent the death of Christ; blaming Jews for Christ's death), and the Torah (which she is barely hanging on to). In contrast, Ecclesia is standing straight with a crown (assuming the Christians are now the ones with the royal blood line), a cross staff, as well as a grail or chalice. The grail or chalice is perhaps in representation of the Holy Grail, the vessel believed to catch the blood of Christ during his Crucifixion.
In 1267 two church councils order Jews to wear the pointed hats (as they did in paintings). Around the same time Jews were beginning to be depicted with abnormally large noses as well as with beards. This change of style is easily noted in the illuminated manuscript produced in 1275, called "Jesus before Caiaphas," Jesus (although a Jew) is not pictured with the Jewish nose as the four other men in the illumination are. Also note the two men in the front with the pointed hats.
Churches continued the theme of degradation of Jews in their facades. However, in 1305 they reached an all time low, the Judensau was born. The Judensau is the depiction of Jews suckling a pig. According to Jewish law, pigs are considered to be unclean (not for consumption) and furthers the insult, comparing Jews to swine and claiming they are dirty and unclean peoples.
As the style of art transitioned into the High Renaissance style, the depictions of Jews became further demonized. A late Renaissance painting by Albrecht Durer called "Christ Among the Doctors" notes this demonetization. The Jews are easily noticeable by their horrid appearance.
The persecution of Jews continued across the continent. In Bildchronik of Diebold Schiling illuminated manuscript page, Jews are wearing the pointy hats as well as yellow identifying badges on their clothing while being burned alive at the stakes. One of the many reasons that this hatred was so easily accessible was the invention of the printing press. In a printing from 1596 we can see the reproduction of Martin Luther's 1543 Judensau article, which he pinned on his church door in Wittenberg, Germany.
Throughout this period Jews were forced to leave their homes due to expulsions from lands like that of the Spanish Inquisition led by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella. In 1807 Napoleon Bonaparte emancipated the Jews in his Great Sanhedrin. In protecting the Jews, Napoleon received much backlash, including the Russian Orthodox Church claiming Napoleon to be the “Antichrist” as well as an outright “Enemy of God.”
In 1843 Karl Marx published his work “On the Jewish Question.” The book has received mixed criticisms on whether it is truly an antisemitic piece of literature, especially considering he was of Jewish linage. It appears however, that many critics believe that Marx’s perceptions of Jews economic role largely fulfill the antisemitic pillars.
Richard Wagner in his 1850 publication “Das Judenthum in der Musik,” which translates to “Jewishness in Music” in German, attacks both Jews and Jewish composers (particularly Giacomo Meyerbeer and Felix Mendelssohn). He wrote his work under a pseudonym in order to prevent personal Jewish inquiry.
In an issue of “Sound Money” published in 1896, a antisemitic political cartoon shows Uncle Sam being crucified akin to Jesus. There are two men on the outside stabbing Uncle Same, they are supposed to be members of Wall St. The cartoonist gives them the large Jewish noses as well as labeling them as pirates. Indicating that Jews have control of the US’s money and are stealing it. In addition, they are stabbing Uncle Sam with “Single Gold Standard” and wetting Uncle Sam’s lips with poisonous “Debt” on the sponge of “Interest on Bonds.” The two men on the inside flanking Uncle Same represent James G. Blaine as the “Republicanism” and Grover Cleveland as “Democracy” in which they are seen pick pocketing Uncle Sam.
Throughout Europe pogroms were taking place. Pogroms were violent acts against Jews that often ended in massacre or persecution. One such Pogrom was that in Kiev, Ukraine in 1919. During the pogrom many Jews were raped, murdered or affected by looting. The picture is of four Jewish victims at an Alexander Hospital. In total 1,326 pogroms took place in Ukraine; some 30,000-70,000 Jews were murdered.
Meanwhile accusations of the medieval belief of blood libels were still prominent throughout even the early 20th century.
In the 1920s Henry Ford published his article “The Ford International Weekly” were most weeks (91 issues) had some antisemitic statement. Eventually these antisemitic statements grew into its own publication of “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem” published in 1920, comprised of 4 volumes.
As you can see, the world was riddled with antisemitism by the time of the 1920s, including the United States. Although Hitler is thought of as the reason behind the Holocaust, he clearly wasn’t lacking in supporters. It was merely a matter of how far these people were (who shared his antisemitic beliefs) willing to go. In 1925 Hitler wrote his “Mein Kampf” meaning “My Struggles” in German. In this work he outlined his antisemitic beliefs as well as his intentions.
Ten years after Hitler’s publication of “Mein Kampf,” Nazi Germany passed the antisemitic laws known as the “Nuremburg Laws” in 1935. The laws largely dealt with protecting both German blood as well as honour. People were classified by their blood status, depending on your Jewish percentage of blood was the way in which you were approved to obtain Reich citizenship or not. If you were considered to be racially defiled (certain percentage of Jewish blood) you were first sent to prison and later sent to concentration camps.
Directly proceeding Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass on November 9-10, 1938, started the six-year long genocide known as the Holocaust, 1938-1945. I have included several pictures that evoke strong emotions of Jews inside the concentration camps. I have tried however to abstain from using the more graphic and dead riddled photos. I felt that one picture was not merely enough to demonstrate the torture and the injustice Jews received during this time. I wish I could say that after 6 million Jews died that History could finally end its antisemitic beliefs and achieve peace. However, that is not the case.
Hatred still ruins in the veins of many people during the later half of the 20th and 21st centuries. Just over 10 years after the Holocaust officially ended, in 1958 an Atlanta, Georgia temple, Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple, was bombed. Luckily no one was injured, however the building received extensive damage.
Rumors surrounding the Holocaust’s legitimacy surfaced. In 1969 professor of History David Hoggan published “The Myth of the Six Million.” In his book, he denied that the Holocaust ever happened!
In Miami, Florida in 1988 yet another synagogue (Bet Shira Congregation) was attacked, this time however it was defiled with misdrawn swastikas. The defamation was completed by a group of local teenagers.
One year ago, in March 2018 in Paris, France, an elderly lady Mireille Knoll was murdered “…because she was Jewish.” She was not only stabbed but also burned. It is believed that as a child (9 years old) she was able to escape capture and deportation to Auschwitz.
Later last year in October, a temple, Tree of Life, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania was attacked by an antisemitic gunman killing 11 people and injuring 7 more, 4 of which were police officers.
By no means have I been able to provide a thorough account of all the hatred Jews receive and continue to receive daily. This project serves as a cultural understanding and in hopes that one day, the world will be able to eradicate its hatred.
#AHMC2019 #antisemitism #medieval #EcclesiaSynogoga #Judensau #JesusBeforeCaiaphas #ChristAmongDoctors #BildchronikofDieboldSchiling #PrintingpressJudensau #AntisemitismRomans #Cicero #ArchofTitus #BustofJosephus #RomanCommerorativeCoins #Tacitus #Barkokhbacoins #Holocaust #MeinKampf #HenryFord #KeivPogrom #Napoleon #Nuremburglaws
This topical collection is based on a past exhibit in the National Portrait Gallery entitled Rebels and Beats: Painters and Poets of the 1950s. This collection might be used by teachers or students who want to explore the counterculture of the 1950s, a time period typically associated with conformity. The collection includes paintings, photographs, and videos related to the writers and artists involved in the Beat Generation, San Francisco Renaissance, Black Mountain College, and New York School scenes.
In what ways did these artists challenge the social norms of the time? Why is art often a means of challenging the status quo?
tags: Ginsberg, Kerouac, Ferlinghetti, de Kooning, Baraka, poem, counterculture, Beat Movement
This collection previews the fifth and final seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, The Struggle for Justice. Two National Portrait Gallery staff members will lead this event: David Ward and Briana Zavadil White.
Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore and consider before the seminar itself.
This collection previews the fourth seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, The Social Power of Music. Two staff members from the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage will lead this event: James Deutsch and Atesh Sonneborn.
Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore and consider before the seminar itself. Two resources, included at the end of the collection, are optional materials for those interested in addtional background information on Smithsonian Folkways.
This collection previews the third seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, American Democracy in the Trump Age. Harry Rubenstein, Curator and Chair of the Division of Political History at the National Museum of American History, will lead this event.
Resources and questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenter for participants to explore, consider, and answer before the seminar itself.
This collection previews the second seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, The Native American Struggle for Treaty Rights and Tribal Sovereignty. Three National Museum of the American Indian staff members will lead this event: Mark Hirsch, David Penney, and Colleen Call Smith.
Resources included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore before the seminar itself.
This collection previews the first seminar of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, A Journey Through the African American Lens. Five National Museum of African American History and Culture staff members will lead this event: Kinshasha Holman Conwill, Dr. Rex Ellis, Dr. Jacquelyn Serwer, Dr. Michèle Gates Moresi, and Mary Elliott.
Resources and reflection questions included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore, consider, and answer before the seminar itself. Fellows will be asked to discuss their answers to the reflection questions during the seminar.
This collection previews the opening panel of the 2017 Montgomery College / Smithsonian Institution Fellowship seminar series, Social Justice: America's Unfinished Story of Struggle, Strife, and Sacrifice. Four Smithsonian staff members will speak at this event: Igor Krupnik (Arctic Studies Center, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History), Lanae Spruce (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Ranald Woodaman (Smithsonian Latino Center), and E. Carmen Ramos (Smithsonian American Art Museum).
Each text annotation in this collection contains each speaker's presentation title, description, and bio. Following each text annotation are resources and questions chosen by the presenters for participants to consider before the panel itself.