Skip to Content
  • Language
  • End User
  • Educational Use
  • Time Required
(989)
(5,004)
(5,128)
(3,739)
(5,714)
(68)
(2,008)
(1,471)
(628)
(2,665)
(1,041)
(914)

Found 5,993 Collections

 

Civil War visuals - Montes

#SJ2019LP

Matthew Montes
7
 

Dolores Huerta

This collection depicts the fight for Civil Rights and the various movements, through laborers on strike. The strikes were conducted by Cesar Chavez, with the help of Dolores Huerta. Together they helped fight and bring awareness for the conditions of the agricultural workers.

monica merrill
10
 

black lives matter

monica merrill
3
 

PT 1 Triumph and Tragedy: American Industry

This collection brings together EDSITEment and Smithsonian resources to support the initial research into a project for National History Day 2019, "Triumph and Tragedy in History."

These resources - including photographs, objects, portraits, lesson plans, and articles - explore triumphs and tragedies in American industrialization from the late 18th century through the early 20th century.  Resources highlight influential industrialists called "captains of industry" by some and "robber barons" by others, catastrophes that occurred as a result of rapid industrialization, labor leaders who fought successfully for the rights of laborers dismal conditions, the origins of child labor laws, leading inventors and their inventions, and other important topics. The second tile of this collection contains questions to help with the analysis of photograph, document, artwork, portrait, and object resources. 

By no means is this collection comprehensive; instead, it provides a launching point for further research.

This collection was created in collaboration with EDSITEment, a website for K-12 educators from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Share your National History Day collections and let us know what you think! Write to us on Twitter: @EDSITEment & @SmithsonianLab, #NHD2019. If you publish a collection on your National History Day topic, be sure to enter #NHD2019 in the description!

Tags: strike, protest, union, andrew carnegie, john d. rockefeller, j.p. morgan, cornelius vanderbilt, henry clay frick, helen frick, andrew w. mellon, newsies, newsboys, child labor reform, thomas alva edison, incandescent lamp, nikola tesla, electric motor, electric power, alexander graham bell, telephone, christopher latham sholes, c. lathan sholes, carlos glidden, samuel soule, typewriter, triangle shirtwaist factory fire, pinkerton national detective agency, matewan massacre, wall street bombing of 1920, boston molassses disaster, asa philip randolph, a. philip randolph, john llewellyn lewis, john l. lewis, frances perkins, samuel gompers i.l.g.w.u, international ladies garment workers union, david dubinsky, company towns, #NHD

Heather Sorrell
25
 

Street Art

#CIETeachArt

Adrian Rodriguez
11
 

MYSELF and My World: My Body

Talk with Me!

Having conversations with young children contributes to their thinking and language development. All conversations are good, but research shows that the quality of words children hear matters more than the quantity. Further, what’s best is an exchange; in other words, talk with children, not at them.

The Talk with Me Toolkits give parents and caregivers thematically organized high-quality, authentic materials to make children their conversational partners in discussions that matter.  These collections feature captivating real-world photographs as well as intriguing paintings and other artworks to observe and discuss. Hands-on activities and books complete each collection. Simple instructions appear right in the collections, so you can jump right in. See what interests your child and get started. There’s a lot to talk about!

To read more, see, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Usable Knowledge site, The Brain-Changing Power of Conversation.

Talk With Me Toolkit
19
 

Smithsonian fellowship collection for ECON

No Stamp Act teapot

The Giorgio Prodi Lecture Hall_University of Bologna

Hoa Nguyen
2
 

Spark!Lab Invention Steps with Shopping Carts

Explore Spark!Lab's invention steps through the process of a real inventor, Orla Watson, who changed grocery shopping for millions of people with his telescoping shopping cart. Then make your own cart with our final invention challenge! Click through each of the items below and be sure to read the information (i) sections

Objectives:

  • Understand the invention process by examining one specific invention 
  • Discover and critically analyze objects and primary sources from the National Museum of American History's archives and collection

The Draper Spark!Lab is a hands-on invention activity center housed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. 

Marie-Louise Orsini
22
 

Greek Influence on Future Evolutions of Art and Culture

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. 

#AHMC2019

Kelsey Harrigan
18
 

Exploring the meaning of "social inclusion" through Digital Storytelling

This collection was made for a hands-on workshop organised by the Dresher Center for the Humanities at UMBC as part of the Inclusion Imperative Program.

During the workshop UMBC faculty and graduate students have the opportunity to learn some of the key elements of digital storytelling focused on questions of inclusion and justice. Some of the contents and tools were inspired by the EU funded project DIST - Digital Integration Storytelling http://www.dist-stories.eu/

Workshop participants will practice storyboarding and editing audio/visual materials as well as discuss how narrative structure and modes of storytelling vary in the diverse culture contexts in which we work and live. 

Antonia Liguori
25
 

Political Cartoons - Imperialism

Collection of Political Cartoons from the late 1800s/early 1900s

Renea Reichenbach
9
 

Music and Dance in Visual Art

Music and dance have always been an integral part of life. They serve to unite and harmonize people, and inspire our lives. There are many types of music and dance, some of which are highlighted in this collection. You will see cultures from the Egyptians, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Rococco, Harlem Renaissance. Types of dance such as the Flamenco dance. Mid-twentieth century musicians such as Elvis Presley, and The Beatles. To modern day music and dance events such as, Coachella Music Festival. There are many purposes and reasons why people dance, with each type of dance either exhibiting a message, a communion with God, or simply imparting inspiration, therapy, happiness, and a way to simply express themselves and give life to their soul or come together as a social experience. Visual images such as these, have given us knowledge that dancing has existed for all of human existence and has played an integral part in connecting humankind together. You will learn of the many types of dance and ritual they were involved, along with the music which was so important for any dance to occur. Music served to enlighten and lift people's spirits, or show them the depths of their soul. It has always had the power to change how a person feels, or move them emotionally in one way or another. Music and dance combined can serve to evolve people time in and again. They are a way to channel into higher gods or into our higher selves. When people participate in these kinds of rituals, it not only brings them together, but bonds and teaches us that there is not only an endless amount of beauty but great depths that we can travel and transcend social barriers. Music and dance are two of the ways in which our human race has advanced forward, all while connecting to the very essence of our beings, and giving us fun, laughter, elevation, and meaning. I hope many people can enjoy this collection, particularly people from the ages of middle school and up. I hope it can supplement many types of learning and anyone else who may be interested in learning more about who we are and what makes us live and grow spiritually. 

#AHMC2019

Jessica Covert
20
 

Communication with the spiritual in ancient to modern art

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).

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":

We 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.



References

Avery, S. (2014). Christina Rossetti: Religious poetry. Retrieved from https://www.bl.uk/romantics-an...

Bartoli, M. T. (1994). A Neoplatonic pavement. In The Chapel of the Magi: Benozzo Gozzoli's frescoes in the palazzo Medici-Riccardi Florence (p, 25-28). New York: Thames and Hudson.

Benton, J. R. & DiYanni, R. (2012). Arts and culture: An introduction to the humanities. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Boucher, B. (1998). Italian Baroque sculpture. London: Thames & Hudson.

Brockington, J. (1998). The Sanskrit epics. Boston: Brill.

Burton, J. (2003). The Dream of Gerontius - Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934). Retrieved from http://www.choirs.org.uk/prognotes/Elgar%20Gerontius.htm

Calkins, R. G. (1983). Illuminated 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.

Davidson, A. E. (1992). Music and performance: Hildegard of Bingen's Ordo Virtutum. In The Ordo Virtutum of Hildegard of Bingen: Critical studies (p. 1-29). Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University.

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.

Frye, N. (1990). Fearful symmetry. Princeton: Princeton University 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.

King-Lenzmeier, A. H. (2001). Hildegard of Bingen: An integrated vision. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press.

Moorman, E., M. (2011). Divine interiors: Mural paintings in Greek and Roman sanctuaries. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press.

Potkay, M. B. (1994). "The Limits of Romantic Allegory in Marie de France's Eliduc," Medieval Perspectives, 9 (1), 135-145. http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/55697230/limits-romantic-allegory-marie-de-frances-eliduc

Potter, R. (1986). The “Ordo Virtutum”: Ancestor of the English moralities?. Comparative Drama, 20 (3), 201–210. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41153244

Roe, D. (2010). Introduction in The Pre-Raphaelites from 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 https://www.theguardian.com

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.

Spink, W. (2008). Ajanta lecture: Korea 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.

Vellacott, P. (1959). Introduction. In Aeschylus, The Orestian trilogy (9-40). New York: Penguin.

Voon, C. (2016). The raw expression of a rare, emaciated Buddha. Hyperallergic. Retrieved February 21, 2019, from https://hyperallergic.com/3448...

#AHMC2019

Nicole Votta
22
 

Evocative Memories

Memories can evoke strong feelings and  inspire artists to tell stories in their art. Look at a selected image with a partner or table group and discuss:

  • What is the story?
  • How do you think the person or people feel about this experience?
  • What do you see that makes you think they feel that way?
  • Have you ever had the same feeling?

Jean-Marie Galing
14
 

Uncovering the Secrets of Queen Kapi’olani’s Canoe

This collection explores the cultural and historical significance of two diplomatic missions by Hawaiian King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi'olani to the United States. These 19th-century diplomatic missions established the first state dinner hosted by U.S. President Grant and included the gifting of a canoe from Queen Kapi'olani to the Smithsonian. Students can watch a video interview about this history and answer guided questions, then look closely  and analyze portraits of the monarchs, read more about the history of U.S. state dinners, and learn about the contemporary collaborations curators have with community members to reveal the history of objects, as described in the film. 

This Smithsonian Learning Lab collection received Federal support from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

#APA2018

Tags: Hawaii, Kapiolani, Kalakaua, outrigger canoe, wa'a, diplomacy

Ashley Naranjo
16
 

Classical Art Styles

Utilizing from the text of Janetta Rebold Benton and Robert DiYanni’s Arts & Culture, An Introduction to the Humanities (Prentice Hall, 2012), Smithsonian Learning Labs and other resources, the focus of this collection will be on the classical art styles, particularly in sculpture.  

Let's begin this journey with a glimpse of Classical Greece.  Greek values included a pursuit of perfection and the love of beauty.  Also known for their philosophical impact today, the Greek philosopher Plato's beliefs are reflected in the sculpture of this time.  "Plato postulated that ideal Goodness, Truth and Beauty were all One, in the realm of Ideal Forms.  Thus, all actions can be measured against an ideal, and that ideal standard can be used as a goal toward which human beings might strive.  According to Plato, human beings should be less concerned with the material world of impermanence and change and more concerned with the spiritual realm of Perfect Forms."  (Benton & DiYanni, Arts & Culture, Prentice Hall, 2012, Pg. 73).  Increasingly lifelike, sculpture in the Classical Greek period reflects these ideals.  

Changes came about during this time in the function and style of sculpture.  The rigid form of years past was replaced with more natural, realistic form.  The sculptures/statues began to reflect what the human body can look like at its peak.  The technical skills of the sculptors evolved greatly as well, showing the human form in various poses.  These poses, which came to be known as the contrapposto pose, included characteristics such as the head slightly turned and a shift in weight onto one leg.  Some sculptors also utilized mathematical calculations to achieve these perfectly portioned forms.  

The first sculpture to utilize the contrapposto pose was the Kritios Boy (Sculptor Kritios) with his weight slightly shifted to one leg raising one hip causing an "S" curve at the spine.  The head was also slightly turned.  This piece shows a more natural form and mirrors the Greek's growing knowledge of how bone, muscle, flesh, etc. work together in the anatomy.  This was considered the transition from the Archaic to Classical periods.  The contrapposto pose achieved a perspective of fluidity in movement and a more relaxed appearance. 

Doryphoros or Spear-Bearer, by the sculptor Polykleitos, shows the ideal of perfection better still.  It was while working on this statue that Polykleitos created a set of written rules instructing how to sculpt the perfect human form.  Each part of the body was taken into consideration allowing the sculpture to be fashioned in perfect proportion.  There is also the likes of Discobolus (Discus Thrower) by Myron of Athens.  A sculpture reflective of the perfect human form that incorporates the physical stature of the sporting contest that is still known today in the Olympic games.  Another great sculptor of this period, Praxiteles, is best known for the Aphrodite of Knidos.  Aphrodite is born from the sea and is known as the goddess of love.  While common for the male form to be nude, this piece illustrating Aphrodite in the nude, was rare for its time.  The art of the female nude became a more prominent theme for the Hellenistic period artists that followed.   

Sculpture was secondary to mosaic and painting in the Early Christian era due to their rejection of idol worship.  Sculpture of this time was found on stone, typically coffins, and small ivory panels or plaques.  The Sarcophagus of Junius Bassus is one of the most famous pieces from this era.  The Islamic civilizations' greatest contribution was architecture while the Romanesque periods' focus was in architectural sculpture.  "Romanesque architectural sculpture is concentrated on church portals, especially on tympana (the tympanum is a semicircular section above the doorway, with a horizontal lintel at the bottom, supported by a central trumeau, or post) and column capitals."  (Benton & DiYanni, Arts & Culture, Prentice Hall, 2012, Pg. 246).  One phenomenal example is the Mission of the Apostles at the church of Sainte-Madeleine in Vezelay.  As in the Early Christian civilization, Romanesque era sculptors also carved in stone.  Included in these stone sculptures was a book of pictures created for use in sermons for those who were illiterate.   

The Gothic era, like the Romanesque, also incorporated sculpture in their architecture.  Unlike Romanesque sculpture; however, their column figures, as they were called, were peaceful and calm looking.  It mirrored the intensified idealism and realism of the era, thoroughly illustrated in the Annunciation and Visitation at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame, Reims.  As we move toward the Renaissance, a time in which there was an urgent desire to seek truth in life and to know every detail of the world as it existed, sculpture came back with a classical elegance engaging naturalism.  The human anatomy was extremely important to them, they essentially picked up where the ancient Greeks and Romans left off with the look of fluidity and movement in their sculpture.  "Sculpture in Italy differs from that of the rest of Gothic Europe.  Nicola Pisano (ca. 1220/25 or before-1284) reintroduced a classical style, as demonstrated by the marble pulpit he made for the baptistery in Pisa, 1259-1260."  (Benton & DiYanni, Arts & Culture, Prentice Hall, 2012, Pg. 278).

The period of the early Renaissance, which means rebirth, brought forth the interest in the person as an individual and a new intrigue with nature.  The Italians thought it "marked a radical break from the past and a reinvention of the civilization and ideals of classical Greece and Rome."  (Benton & DiYanni, Arts & Culture, Prentice Hall, 2012, Pg. 289).  Renaissance culture fostered the idea of individual creativity and supported competition amongst artists.  Sculptors of this time include Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti, then some years later in the High Renaissance period, Michelangelo.

Over time, through the course of centuries, the art of sculpture continued to evolve.  The contrapposto pose of Classical Greece led the way to the more elaborate, almost theatrical Baroque sculpture.  What was initially made in bronze came to be made in materials such as stone, marble, wood and a variety of metals.  Some sculptors go back to the earliest forms of the art in their productions.  In the Sleeping Faun, 19th century Harriet Goodhue Hosmer captures the beautiful curves and perfect physical proportions of Greek Hellenistic sculpture in her marble creation.

Come the 20th century, while utilizing these various materials, sculpture became more diversified and ornate.  Some pieces, such as Noguchi’s Kouros, incorporated elements of both carved and ‘constructed’ components while Calder's Mobiles physically moved.  The utilization of blown glass, although previously used as an art medium in ancient Roman times, became a fine art with the likes of sculptor Dale Chihuly.  Time shall tell what new, innovative twists in sculpture will emerge.  






  


#AHMC2019

Pauline Kalil
20
 

The Things We Carry

Identity, story, in the things we carry

Jeff Hudson
1
 

mythology

Noah's Ark is a representation in how animals are depicted in Christianity. As man has dominion over the animals, it is therefore his responsibility to lead them to safety. As opposed to Native American beliefs, where it's usually animals leading people different places.

Alex Stall
1
 

mythology

This is a picture of ouroboros, the snake eating it's own tail. I chose this picture because it is similar to the midgard serpent of Norse Mythology, a serpent so large that it is able to encircle all of midgard and bite its own tail. In Norse Mythology, the serpent is the son of Loki and a female jotun, and Thor will fight this monster during ragnorok, where Thor will kill him, but also be bitten and poisoned by the snake, and he also will die.

Alex Stall
1
 

mythology

Alex Stall
1
 

mythology

The picture in question reminds me of the story of genesis such as when the earth was young, and there were no living creatures and when the light and the dark were still one before god separated them.

Alex Stall
1
 

mythology

This is a picture of Zeus. Zeus was the king of the gods in Greek mythology, and the youngest of the children of the titans Kronos and Rhea. Like Kronos, eventually Zeus would rise up against his father and overthrow him, and take his place as the king of the heavens. This picture shows Zeus with an eagle, the animal that represented him and the arrows he's holding represent his weapon, the mighty thunderbolt. 

Alex Stall
1
4753-4776 of 5,993 Collections