Found 531 Learning Lab Collections
This collection has images of the Vietnam War to background the novel The Things They Carried. This collection should help to answer the compelling question; was the Vietnam War justified?
The works in this collection are under consideration for the SAAM/NPG posters promoting the Smithsonian's American Women's History Initiative.
The focus of this collection is gender and how it was portrayed in Ancient Greek art. We're going to be exploring the role that women served back in the time period of Ancient Greece compared to men. We'll be looking at different statuary and comparing how women appear in them compared to men, as well. From viewing different pieces in this collection, you will be able to notice how in nude statues, the women were mildly nude because they couldn't bare it all, while men could. It shows how society had no issue with the nude male body, but when it came to the female nude body, it couldn't be fully exposed. It was appropriate to be a little exposed, but any more than that and it would be distasteful. This collection will also explore how men were known to have such brute strength, while the role of women was that of seductresses and causing trouble for men by tempting them.
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.
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.
The 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).
Benton, J. R. & DiYanni, R. (2012). Arts and culture: An introduction to the humanities. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Brockington, J. (1998). The Sanskrit epics. Boston: Brill.
Curtis, G. B. (2006). The cave painters: Probing the mysteries of the world's first artists. (2006). New York: Knopf.
Faxon, A. C. (1989). Dante Gabriel Rossetti. New York: Abbeville Press.
Hackworth, P., L. (2006). The freedman in Roman art and art history. Oxford: Cambridge University Press.
Heyob, S. K. (1975). The cult of Isis among women in the Graeco-Roman world. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Moorman, E., M. (2011). Divine interiors: Mural paintings in Greek and Roman sanctuaries. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press.
Segal, C. (2001). Introduction. In Euripides, Bakkai (3-32). New York: Oxford University Press.
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.
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.
Vellacott, P. (1959). Introduction. In Aeschylus, The Orestian trilogy (9-40). New York: Penguin.
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. For anyone that reads it they will hopefully see the creative ways they showcased many different aspects of their culture.
The images used in my Digital Storytelling video.
Examining the transformational power of non-violence - an everlasting truth-force!
This Learning Lab uses interactive virtual tours, videos, images, and much more to Celebrate the Rich Cultural History of African American History in honor or Black History Month.
Students can explore this Learning Lab independently. Learning exercises and worksheets have been provided to help enhance the exploration of the content for the NMAAHC Black Superheroes
Wakanda Learning Lab is this? #SJ2019LP
Introduction to American Author Research Paper. #sj2019lp
Meet the politicians, reformers, inventors, authors, soldiers and others who shaped the course of American history from the colonial era to the end of the Civil War. Students will analyze portraits to learn about the diverse and significant contributions to American society made by individuals in the Portrait Gallery’s collection.
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 up until 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.
Jews were being "attacked" by rumors of blood libel, portrayed as wicked in art, portrayed as blind/dumb and unclean on church facades, as well as literature being spread against them, all over the span of 500 years.
#AHMC2019 #antisemitism #medieval #EcclesiaSynogoga #Judensau #JesusBeforeCaiaphas #ChristAmongDoctors #BildchronikofDieboldSchiling #PrintingpressJudensau #AntisemitismRomans #Cicero #ArchofTitus #BustofJosephus #RomanCommerorativeCoins #Tacitus #Barkokhbacoins
Established in the mid-19th century, several of the earliest additions to the NNC were artifacts from Japan, Korea, and China, including coins and medals gifted to President Ulysses S. Grant from Japanese Emperor Meiji (received in 1881) and the 2,025 East Asian coins, amulets, and notes from George Bunker Glover’s private collection (received in 1897). These donations were the foundation of the NNC’s East Asian holdings, which continues to grow with new acquisitions, such as the Howard F. Bowker collection in 2017.
This collection was created by Aira Matin, a Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center intern. Aira applied one of our Culture Lab Manifesto tenets, "A Culture of Action: Stay woke. We have a social contract with one another to protect the vulnerable and ensure human rights for everyone," in her search for objects that may add to, challenge or spark this dialogue. Below is a statement of her process and inspiration for this collection, and may support classroom discussions on race, immigration, migration, activism, gender, inclusion and social media.
"What were the different forms of marginalization and discrimination against Asian Pacific American communities, and how did such oppression lead to action being taken to assert their place as equal citizens in the United States? For this collection, I examined different principles and foundations for oppression and prejudice against Asian Pacific Americans, as well as the different ways that these communities took action against such marginalization to represent themselves as equal Americans." --Aira Matin
The images used in my Digital Storytelling video.
Stimulus for art work or essay on slavery in America. Students to create a drawing or painting using images to portray the the pain of slavery. Student can select a variety of media. The essay could be based upon the first person experience looking through the eyes of a slave.