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.
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.
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.
Detail of a Sasanian silver bowl depicting a hunting scene. The capital of the Sassanid Persian Empire, Seleucia-Ctesiphon, (near modern-day Baghdad and ancient Babylon) was the largest city in the world until its destruction in the 7th century CE. Freer and Sackler Galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
“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”
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
Description from The
“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
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
Kyoto ware incense box in shape of crouching rabbit. Stoneware with enamels over clear glaze. Nonomura Ninsei, active ca. 1646-77. Kyoto, Kyoto prefecture, Japan. Gift of Charles Lang Freer . Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery