freer and sackler gallery

Refugees are by definition the most vulnerable people among us. Families don’t choose to sacrifice everything they have and leave their homes unless their homes become like the mouth of a shark. Scapegoating people who are fleeing for their lives is an inhumanity that no person with a heart should be able to defend.
—  Commentary by Bilal Askaryar, who helps manage the Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Freer and Sackler Galleries. He holds a master’s degree from the American University School of International Service. He arrived in the United States as a refugee fleeing the war in Afghanistan when he was 5 years old.
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Free Digital Art Publications!

Art publications are expensive to produce and difficult to update. Because of this, the Getty Foundation has worked with a handful of collaborators such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Walker Art Center, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to help solve this problem. Check out the list of completely free publications below. 

Living Collections Catalogue: On Performativity from the Walker Art Center.

The Rauschenberg Research Project from San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Monet Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago from the Art Institute of Chicago.

Renoir Paintings and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago from the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Camden Town Group in Context from the Tate.

The World of the Japanese Illustrated Book from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Southeast Asian Art at LACMA from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century from the National Gallery of Art.

Chinese Painting & Calligraphy from the Seattle Art Museum.

“Excavation of Persepolis (Iran): Throne Hall, Southern Wall, West Jamb of Western Doorway: View of Uppermost Register Picturing Enthroned King Giving Audience under the Winged Symbol with Partly Encircled Figure of Ahuramazda”

1923-1928

glass negative from the Ernst Herzfeld Papers

Freer and Sackler Archives

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The Syrian city of Aleppo has sadly received a lot of coverage recently due to the widespread destruction from years of civil war. In spite of this, the city is still one of the great architectural treasures of the Middle East, which has drawn travelers and scholars for centuries.

When museum founder Charles Lang Freer visited Aleppo in 1908, he was delighted, writing on June 19 to his business partner Frank Hecker, “Aleppo is a charming surprise – a beautiful ancient city, and in every way more attractive than I had fancied.” Among the hundreds of photographs he collected of Asia and the Middle East are twelve lovely views in and around Aleppo.

Likewise, the German scholar Ernst Herzfeld traveled many times to Aleppo during his decades of research and exploration in the Middle East. The extraordinary number of drawings, photographs, and research notes in the Herzfeld collection is an important repository for the study of the city’s architectural heritage, so imperiled by recent conflicts.

In support of the people of Aleppo, this month we have combined selections from these two collections into a slide show, currently on display in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

Two girls under umbrella in snowstorm.  Painting.  About 1800, Japan, by artist  Kitagawa Utamaro.  Gift of Charles Lang Freer . Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

The Shapur Plate

Iran

Medium: Silver and gilt 

Type: Metalwork

Date: 4th century 

 Accession Number: F1934.23 

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery



“I, Shapur, king of kings, partner with the Stars, brother of the Sun and Moon, to my brother Constantius Caesar offer most ample greeting.…”


Description from The Smithsonian Museum:  “Like Shapur’s flowery letter to the Roman emperor Constantine, this masterpiece of silverwork presents Shapur II as a ruler of the universe, the king of kings.

It was produced during the fourth century CE for Shapur II, the Sasanian king who is identified by his distinctive crown. He was one of the most powerful rulers of the Sasanian dynasty, which controlled Iran and much of the Ancient Near East from 224 to 651 CE. During Shapur’s reign, scenes depicting the king hunting gazelle, boars, bulls, and ibex were important metaphors for royal power. The plate, like several other similar examples, was presented as a gift to dignitaries or was displayed prominently in the Sasanian palace to assert Shapur’s sovereignty.

This Sasanian plate, however, was not discovered in Iran, but in Russia. Its journey from Iran to Russia and then to the United States and the Freer Gallery of Art is as important to its identity as was its role in the Sasanian court. Acquired by a wealthy Russian noble family, the Stroganovs, on the borderlands of Siberia, it was displayed in their palace in Saint Petersburg until the Russian Revolution of 1917. In 1934 it became one of the first works of Sasanian art to enter the United States, and it is among the most important Sasanian objects in an American museum”  via: smithsonian 


Image:  warfare.altervista.org

Text:   Smithsonian Museum