Found 672 Learning Lab Collections
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.
This collection is meant to showcase and demonstrate the importance and impact of performance arts throughout history. Music will be the focus but any type of performance may be used to establish the value of performance arts.
The focus of this collection is to accurately depict Ancient Greece culture and inform the reader on, the cultural significance of the artwork , architecture, gods, and individuals who lived in Ancient Greece. I have always had a fascination with Ancient Greece and the influence it left on the world. I think they are one of the most beautiful cultures to ever exist and the people from this time left a lasting impact on the world around us.
The first two pieces of my collection include two busts; one of Zeus and one of Aphrodite. They are both vital parts of Greek mythology and were highly respected by the Ancient Greeks at the time. Zeus was the the king of all the gods and was believed to live on top of mount olympus. Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of beauty. An interesting fact about Aphrodite is that in some Greek myths she was known as the mother of Eros (Cupid).
The next two pieces of my collection include sculptures of Alexander the Great and Achilles. Alexander the great was born in Pella where is father was king and controlled Macedonian Army. Due to the success of his father Alexander inherited one of the most powerful Armies of the time which allowed him to expand his empire even further. Achilles is the protagonist of the Iliad a story created by Homer. The significance of Achilles is he was grabbed by the heels and dipped in a river which turns him immortal. However, since his heels did not touch the water and later on he was hit by an arrow in that spot which led to his downfall.
The the last two pieces of my collection contain Ancient Greek architecture. One of the pieces I specifically wanted to focus on the columns since they were such a pivotal part of Ancient Greek architecture. They created three types of columns corinthian, doric and Ionic. The second piece of architecture I include was the Parthenon. This piece of architecture was on the Athenian Acropolis, and was dedicated to Athena, who the people of Athens thought was their patron
In the second installment of my collection I added four pieces of art I found to be significant during this time. I also believe the pieces I chose are extremely interesting as well as informative. The two other following pieces I added were based on architecture. I believe the architecture I have added to my collection represent well the styles of columns and other specific aspects that are unique to ancient Greece. For the new pieces of my collection I focussed on adding most of the detail of my pieces in the description part of each image.
1. “Parthenon Facts.” Math, www.softschools.com/facts/ancient_civilizations/parthenon_facts/2231/.
2. “Aphrodite • Facts and Information on Greek Goddess Aphrodite.” Greek Gods & Goddesses, greekgodsandgoddesses.net/goddesses/aphrodite/.
3. Cartwright, Mark. “Column.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 11 Feb. 2019, www.ancient.eu/column/.
4. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution. “Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Psyche.” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 2 Nov. 2015. learninglab.si.edu/q/r/118194. Accessed 12 Feb. 2019.
5.“Great Altar of Zeus and Athena at Pergamon.” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/ancient-mediterranean-ap/greece-etruria-rome/v/the-pergamon-altar-c-200-150-b-c-e.
6 .McDowall, Carolyn, and Carolyn McDowall FRSA. “Motya Charioteer – Ancient Greek Sculpture at Its Finest.” The Culture Concept Circle, 1 Sept. 2012, www.thecultureconcept.com/motya-charioteer-ancient-greek-sculpture-at-its-finest.
This collection explores the importance and significance of religion, music and art in varying cultures. Throughout this collection, not only will we learn about the above topics, but we will also realize the connection that runs between different cultures and the different ways these topics can be seen in each culture.
I created this second collection to build on the topic of my first: The Portrayal of Powerful Women Through Visual Art. I began the introduction of my previous collection with an explanation of why I chose this topic. I will repeat that when I began at UMASS online, I immediately chose Gender Studies as one of my concentrations as I am fascinated with woman’s evolution through time. Art is the perfect time capsule to look at such a topic over time and I began with the first collection focusing on Egyptian Art. In this collection I will look at the representation of women in Renaissance art and some Baroque art. Again, my hope is that this collection will exemplify the power that was evident in a woman in this time period. My main sources of study were Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Lab.
Art is an important way to document our collective present so that future generations may have greater understanding of our ways of thinking, values and more. Norman Rockwell's iconic paintings are a window into the lives of ordinary people in the 20th century. Reaching further back into time, the cave paintings of the prehistoric era provide one of the last few glimpses into how these people lived and their religious and moral values. Art is a product of its time. It is a result of the social, political, and religious context in which it was made. Visual art is one of the best ways to understand women of a certain time period. In the Renaissance Era, women had no personal option in the choice of a marriage partner. The role of women continued to be to serve their husbands because the church, communal and judicial laws that at this time favored the ambitions of men. It seemed that Renaissance women were cast into a subservient state from the time of birth. Despite these values, I think that the power of a woman is still evident in art.
One piece in particular, which I have included in the collection, is The Birth of Venus by Botticelli. It immediately caught my eye when I turned to that page in our textbook. Venus is depicted standing upright in an oversized clamshell, her posture is unstable and off balance, her hands attempt to modestly cover her statuesque beauty as her long, golden hair billows in the breeze. She rises from the sea looking like a classical statue and floating on a seashell. Time seems to stop around her, and she stands alone, captivating the viewer with her gaze. She is the goddess of love and holds us all under her spell. This is just one example of representation of a woman in Renaissance art.
What I have put together in this collection represents the significance of women at this point in history.
Benton, Janetta Rebold, and Robert DiYanni. Arts and Culture: an Introduction to the Humanities. Pearson, 2014.
This collection will explore the depiction of women in art throughout different periods of time. The collection begins with the prehistoric art and ends with contemporary art. #AHMC2019
I come from a family of very strong and independent women, and I was raised in a feminist household and was taught that there is power in femininity. When I began at UMASS online, I immediately chose Gender Studies as one of my concentrations as I am fascinated with woman’s evolution through time. While we are only just now on the brink of true equality, there are some examples from specific cultures in history that show the power of women. I chose to look closely at Egypt from its earliest cultures through the New Kingdom. My hope is that this collection will exemplify the power that was evident in a woman in this time period. My main sources of study were Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Lab.
Visual art can be an influential force. I feel that it is a direct and tangible example of how the artist sees it’s subject (person, place, object, thought or idea), and that perception is molded by culture, values, lessons, and history. Reactions to visual art can spark debate, deeper thought, an emotional response, or even desire to learn more about the culture or time period it was created. I hope what I have put together here will spark one of those things in my viewers. I really hope that it will put our view of women into perspective. We have evolved so much since this time in our thoughts of equality, worth, capability, representation and I hope to show that in following collections with examples from different cultures and time periods.
In Arts and Culture: An Introduction to the Humanities there is a section in Chapter 1 about Queen Hatshepsut and how she was viewed as a powerful and important ruling figure in a male dominated world. I think this is important to note as we don’t read very much about women figureheads during this time. She was respected, trusted, and listened to. She was valued by her people which is exemplified in her tomb. It is described in the text as, “constructed of repeated elements- colonnaded terraces with columnar porticoes…halls, and private chambers. The three terraces are connected by ramps to the cliff…These chambers are chapels to the god Amen; to the cow-headed goddess Hathor, who protects the dead; and to the queen herself…sculpture was used lavishly; there were perhaps two hundred statues in Hatshepsut’s funerary temple” (Benton 27). It bears noting the love and respect for one woman in 1458 B.C.E. Women were also praised in the form of goddesses, ruling over things such as truth, justice, order, hunt, etc.
What I have put together in this collection represents the significance of women at this point in history.
Benton, Janetta Rebold, and Robert DiYanni. Arts and Culture: an Introduction to the Humanities. Pearson, 2014.
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.
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.
National Museum of American Indian colleagues Paul Chaat Smith, Cecile R. Ganteaume, Colleen Call Smith, and Mandy Van Heuvelen will provide a behind the scenes look at the most daring exhibition the National Museum of the American Indian has ever staged. The exhibition argues that Native American imagery is everywhere in American life, and rather than being merely kitsch, stereotype, and cultural appropriation, it is evidence of the centrality of Indians in both history and 21st century life in the United States.
Resources included in this collection have been chosen by the presenters for participants to explore before the seminar itself.
This topical collection includes resources related to featured women artists, actresses and performers. This collection includes portraits of the artists, actresses and performers, related artifacts, articles, videos with experts, and related Smithsonian Learning Lab collections. Use this collection to launch lessons about the women's life stories, primary source analysis, and examination of the context in which these women lived and made their contributions. This collection is not comprehensive but rather provides a launching point for research and study.
Keywords: Hattie McDaniel, Aretha Franklin, Frida Kahlo, Anna May Wong, Selena Quintanilla, Maria Tallchief, Maya Lin, Gladys Bentley, #BecauseOfHerStory
This collection explores the changing concept of man’s position in the world in relation to God and nature. It begins with examples from early polytheistic cultures which utilized God to explain natural phenomena and continues through the ages to show shifting perceptions of man’s position in the world.
The earliest examples of this relationship are seen in the Sumerian and Mesopotamian cultures, both of which used the concept of individual Gods to explain natural phenomenon. Polytheism in these cultures is evident in the art that remains from this time. Sculpture from these early cultures depicts anthropomorphic versions of their gods, and ruins of ziggurats, or early Sumerian temples, also provide evidence of polytheistic values. The Sumerian people constructed individual temples to worship their gods with each one housing a statue of the honored god.
The idea of architecture and sculpture as homages to the gods of the natural world continues throughout antiquity. The Ancient Greeks erected the Erichthonius Temple, with its exquisitely carved caryatid support sculptures, on the Acropolis in Athens Greece to honor the Goddess Athena and the magnificent Roman Pantheon initially served as a place of worship of the gods by the Roman people. The Ancient Greeks also, most notably in the writings of Plato and Aristotle and the philosophy of Stoicism, are the first to come up with the concept of art imitating nature, particularly in music, dancing and painting.
Literature and music also depict themes of polytheism in the Ancient World. Evidence found on ancient vessels, ruins and artwork suggests that music was performed as part of religious ceremonies in Ancient Egypt. The Greeks utilized music in their theatrical performances and religious rites going so far as to develop various modes of music still employed today. Various musical modes would be performed to reinforce themes of theatrical performances or religious ceremonies. The emergence of early Greek drama helped to reinforce polytheistic ideals with performances intended to celebrate and appease the gods. Earliest examples of Greek drama are plays that were performed in celebration of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility and other Gods.
The advent of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity shows a shift from the polytheistic cultures of earlier societies to monotheistic cultures. Christianity’s growth throughout Europe made it the dominant cultural force throughout second millennium after Christ’s birth. Its early impact on the humanities was strong as early Christians viewed art as a means to worship rather than as objects of worship. The artwork of this time reflects the evolving view of man and nature with flat, two-dimensional artwork that is meant to reflect the spirituality of man rather than his
Perceptions began shifting in the late Middle Ages as Scholasticism began to emerge. Thinkers such as St. Thomas Aquinas began synthesizing early Greek thought and applying them to their worlds. Aquinas saw nature as reflection of God’s work. This concept is carried further with the emergence of humanism during the reign of the Medici family in Florence. The Medici embraced the concept of appreciating beauty in nature and human endeavor as a manifestation of God as put forth by the poet Petrarch in the 14th century. The Neoplatonism movement also began during this time spearheaded by Marsilio Ficino who believed that the contemplation and study of beauty in nature was a form of worship in itself. Ficino argued that the beauty Petrarch’s love poems to Laura and Botticelli’s Venus were examples of the spiritual bond created through the love and appreciation of the beautiful. Later Renaissance thinkers expounded on these concepts of nature and God while also reframing the Greek notion of intelligence in the natural world being something inherent in nature to being evidence of a divine creator of nature.
“Polytheism.” AllAboutHistory.org, www.allabouthistory.org/polytheism.htm. Accessed 2 Feb. 2019.
“An Introduction to... Ancient Greek Theatre.” An Introduction to... Ancient Greek Theatre | APGRD, www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/learning/an-introduction-to/an-introduction-to-ancient-greek-theatre. Accessed 2 Feb. 2019.
“An Introduction to... Ancient Greek Theatre.” An Introduction to... Ancient Greek Theatre | APGRD, www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/learning/an-introduction-to/an-introduction-to-ancient-greek-theatre. Accessed 3 Feb. 2019.
Benton, Janetta Rebold, and Robert DiYanni. Arts and Culture: an Introduction to the Humanities: Combined Volume. 4th ed., Prentice Hall, 2012.
Black, J. A. Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 119, no. 4, 1999, pp. 698–698. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/604860. Accessed 2 Feb. 2019
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Erechtheum.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2 May 2016, www.britannica.com/topic/Erechtheum. Accessed 2 Feb. 2019.
Cartwright, Mark. “Caryatid.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 9 Feb. 2019, www.ancient.eu/Caryatid/.
Close, A. (1969). Commonplace Theories of Art and Nature in Classical Antiquity and in the Renaissance. Journal of the History of Ideas, 30(4), 467-486. doi:10.2307/2708606
Lloyd, Ellen. “Mysterious Sumerian Statues With Big Blue Eyes - A Sign From The Gods.” Ancient Pages, Ancient Pages, 6 Jan. 2019, www.ancientpages.com/2017/02/23/mysterious-sumerian-statues-big-blue-eyes-sign-gods/. Accessed 3 Feb. 2019.
McGruder, C. T., Ph.D. (n.d.). The Renaissance View of Nature. Retrieved February 28, 2019, from https://faculty.mtsac.edu/cmcg...
Nasios, Angelo, and Angelo Nasios. “The Hearth of Hellenism: Did the Philosophers Believe in God?” Patheos, Patheos, 2 Oct. 2017, www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2017/10/hearth-hellenism-2-2/. Accessed 3 Feb. 2019.
Wilde, R. (2019, January 22). A Guide to the Intellectual Movement Known as Renaissance Humanism. Retrieved February 28, 2019, from https://www.thoughtco.com/rena...
Curated Collection 1:
Stele (Wood; painted; ht. 12").. Artstor, https://corvette.salemstate.ed...
Statue (gypsum, shell, lapis lazuli, bitumen; ht. 36 1/4").. Early Dynastic IIIb; 2500-2400 B.C.. Artstor, https://corvette.salemstate.ed...
Vessel (krater; red-figure).. ca. 420-400 B.C.. Artstor, https://corvette.salemstate.ed...
Maerten van Heemskerck. Frontal View of the Pantheon [Ansicht des Pantheons von vorn]. ca. 1532-36. Artstor, https://corvette.salemstate.ed...
Ronny Siegel [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons, 2/10/19 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
Curated Collection 2:
(2nd half 3rd century (creation)). Sarcophagus with portraits of a senator and his wife, View: detail, Detail, center. [sarcophagi (coffins)]. Retrieved from
Image of Justinian:
Justinian I with his entourage, next to him Archbishop Maximian. [general]. Retrieved from https://corvette.salemstate.edu/asset/BERLIN_DB_10313804385
(1164). Pieta; detail of fresco from Church of Nerezi. Retrieved from https://corvette.salemstate.edu/asset/AHSC_ORPHANS_1071314291
Image of St. Thomas:
Giovanni di Paolo, Italian, c.1399-1482. (1445-50). St. Thomas Aquinas Confounding Averroës. [paintings]. Retrieved from https://corvette.salemstate.ed...
Image of Petrarch and Laura:
Philippe Jacques Van Bree. (1816). Laura and Petrarch at Fontaine de Vaucluse (Laure et Pétrarque). [painting]. Retrieved from https://corvette.salemstate.ed...
Birth of Venus:
Sandro Botticelli. (c. 1482). Birth of Venus. [paintings]. Retrieved from https://corvette.salemstate.ed...
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.
My major is computer science at UMass Lowell. My collection will focus on the representative statues and buildings of the Roman Empire. Architecture reflects the strength of a country, and statues reflect the cultural tendencies of a country. From these two perspectives, I can get a better understanding of the Roman Empire at that time.
The Romans conquered the world in the middle of the third century B.C. and gained the sovereignty over the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.The Roman Empire is militarily successful, but compared with the remarkable achievements in politics and literature, its achievements in visual art seem to lack an independent and complete feature.The main reason is that the Romans highly admire and carefully imitate Greek art. They not only import a large number of works from Greece, but also imitate them. Even in their own works, the sign of Greek art can still be seen clearly.
On the other hand, because the Romans greatly emphasize the practicality of art rather than creativity, Roman art, whether in architecture, sculpture, or painting, is often copied from Greek works or takes what is good and puts it to its own use. The only ones that can be said to have Roman style are the portraits of people after the late republican period. Different from the aestheticism and elegance of Greek portraits, these Roman portraits resemble real people and are mainly used for memorial purposes. Although they have no profound aesthetic expression, they have left a vivid look of contemporary Roman celebrities.
In the early Rome, the country was founded on agriculture, so the whole society advocated such virtues as diligence, endurance, frugality, etc. However, it constantly invaded the outside world in the republican era,so the discipline of the army derived the requirement for obedience and law-abiding. Among which, the emphasis on the law and the achievements of the rule of law had a great contribution to the civilization of later generations.
Such a character is a practical spirit shown in life, thought, and art.Therefore, among the works of art left over from the Roman period, it is its public works that are best known, such as the roads, water supply pipes, public bathhouses, coliseums and so on.These huge and magnificent buildings were all built for practical purposes, and have all kinds of ingenious architectural techniques. Even in today, their ruins still make people amazing.
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).
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Potter, R. (1986). The “Ordo
Virtutum”: Ancestor of the English moralities?. Comparative
Drama, 20 (3), 201–210. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41153244
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
This collection contains Chicano artwork and historical images that embody my Mexican heritage.
<<This information is relevant to the Fall 2018 - Spring 2019 SSYAC Program.>>
SUPER IMPORTANT: When you click into the tiles, be sure to notice in the upper left hand corner if there is a "paper clip" icon. Clicking on the paperclip icon will lead to more information on a side panel. Some of the tiles will be website links or video links. Tiles marked as PDF or DOC are downloadable information. Within a tile, arrows at the bottom of the screen will navigate you between tiles.
Orientation for new members of the Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council (SSYAC) for Fall 2018 - Spring 2019:
- About the Smithsonian Secretary's Youth Advisory Council (SSYAC) -- including forms and other important information
- About Secretary David J. Skorton
- About Smithsonian's past and present
- About Smithsonian Affiliate participants
- About Smithsonian operations, and policy information helpful to SSYAC members.
- Meeting Resources (relevant info related to upcoming meetings will be added closer to meeting dates).
KEYWORDS: teen council, student engagement
In this activity, students will examine a painting of Mexican guest-workers, known as braceros, involved in the Bracero Program (1942-1964), the largest guest-worker program in US history. Started as a temporary war measure to address labor demands in agriculture and railroads, the program allowed Mexican nationals to take temporary agricultural work in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, and 24 other states. By the time the program ended in 1964, over 4.6 million work contracts were awarded.
Using a Project Zero Global Thinking Routine - "Step In - Step Out - Step Back" - students will examine the perspectives of those depicted in the painting, consider what it means to take the perspectives of others, and explore avenues and methods to learn more about Braceros. Resources for learning more about the Bracero program are located at the end of the collection and include: Bittersweet Harvest, a digital exhibition about the Bracero Program; the Bracero History Archive, which includes oral histories, objects, and more; and a Learning Lab collection of photographs documenting the Bracero Program.
Keywords: laborer, immigration, work, migration, migrant workers, agriculture, reform, politics, government, photojournalism, activity, inquiry strategy, global competency, global competence, latino, chicano, 1940s, 40s, 1950s, 50s, 1960s, 60s
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
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.
The Rosamund B. and Edward H. Spicer of photographs of Yoeme (Yaqui) documents lifeways, culture, ceremonies, and families from the mid-1930s to the early 1940s in the villages of Old Pascua, Arizona and Potom, Sonora, Mexico.
This collection provides students the opportunity to dress artist Frida Kahlo in traditional Mexican garb that she favored, the huipil and the quechquemitl.
Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan on July 6, 1907. Thoughout her life Frida was a fierce nationalist and a vocal socialist. As a reflection of her beliefs, Frida often wore the indigenous clothing of Mexico. This can be seen both in photographs of her and in her paintings. Frida completed 143 paintings during her lifetime, 55 of which are self-portraits. Many of these self-portaits are among her most famous works.
Most of the costumes Frida wears were hand-woven, as well as hand embroidered and stitched. The colors and many of the symbols used in her work are clearly influenced by Mexican tradition.
She died in 1954.
Developing an inquiry-based strategy to support students can allow them to investigate objects and images as historians do. In this example, students try to reveal the story behind the image. They raise questions for their own further research. Because the image has only a title, the photographer's name, the "sitter"'s name, the place and the date, students have to rely on their own analysis of evidence in the image, rather than someone else's interpretation. When they read the expert's analysis, they will have already considered many of the elements that the expert highlights and can compare their interpretations.
"Girl at Gee's Bend, Alabama" is a provocative photograph that can be used in discussions ranging from history of the South during the Great Depression, to social justice.
In this activity, students will explore Mickalene Thomas's process, artistic influences, and art historical context. Students will examine Thomas's Portrait of Mnonja (2010, Smithsonian American Art Museum) in depth, and use three supporting resources to build context.
1. Have students look at Mickalene Thomas's Portrait of Mnonja. Give them 2-3 minutes to do a quick sketch of the painting.
2. Next, ask them to note the part of the painting their eye went to first on their sketch with a star.
3. Next, ask students to draw a line through their sketch to show the path their eye used to travel through the painting. Use arrows to indicate direction.
4. In pairs or as a class, ask students to share where their eye went first, and why they think it went there. Was it the color? Light? Lines? The placement in the composition?
5. Next, students should write a list of 8-10 words and phrases describing the painting. Ask for volunteers to share out.
6. As a group, discuss students' impressions of the painting. Ask for visual evidence to back up claims. (e.g. A student says, "she looks powerful." You ask, "what do you see that makes you say she's powerful?")
7. To further the conversation, share some background information about the painting: the title, the date, and the artist. Explain a little about Mickalene Thomas's process: posing live models in sets with props and furniture, taking photographs, then painting from the photographs.
8. Next, break students into small groups. Each group should receive a printout of ONE of the three supporting resources in this collection. Ask them to compare and contrast their image with Portrait of Mnonja.
9. After 4-5 minutes, ask each group to share out the main idea from what they discussed. The teacher should add additional information as it is useful.
a. Mickalene Thomas set photograph: Shows the artist's process, how she uses real models and sets. Note patterns and 1970s motifs.
b. Romare Bearden collage: Thomas has cited Bearden as one of her artistic influences. Students should note similarities in color, pattern, and flatness.
c. John Collier painting: An example from the early 1900s of the "reclining woman" in art history. Students should discuss the passiveness/agency of each of these women, and how a male artist's depiction of a woman differs from a female artist's in this case. Thomas was well versed in art history and was consciously making reference to precedents like this.
10. Writing Activity: In small groups, have students write a dialogue between Mnonja and someone else. It could be the artist, the viewer, or someone from one of the supporting resources.
Optional: Have students view one or both of the short videos of Mickalene Thomas discussing Portrait of Mnonja.