Luminism (American art style)
Luminism is an American landscape painting style of the 1850s to 1870s, characterized by effects of light in landscape, through the use of aerial perspective and the concealment of visible brushstrokes. Luminist landscapes emphasize tranquility, depict calm, reflective water and a soft, hazy sky. Artists who were most central to the development of the luminist style include Fitz Hugh Lane, Martin Johnson Heade, Sanford Gifford, John F. Kensett. Painters with a less clear affiliation include Frederic Edwin Church, Jasper Cropsey, Albert Bierstadt, Worthington Whittredge, Raymond Dabb Yelland, Alfred Thompson Bricher, James Augustus Suydam, David Johnson; some precursor artists are Robert Salmon. The term luminism was introduced by mid-20th-century art historians to describe a 19th-century American painting style that developed as an offshoot of the Hudson River School; the historian John I. H. Baur established an outline of the style in the late 1940s, he first used the term "luminism" in a 1954 article.
As defined by art historian Barbara Novak, luminist artworks tend to stress the horizontal, demonstrate the artist's close control of structure and light. The light is cool and non-diffuse. Brushstrokes are concealed in such a way. Luminist paintings tend not to be large so as to maintain a sense of timeless intimacy; the picture surface or plane is emphasized in a manner sometimes seen in primitivism. These qualities are present in different amounts depending on the artist, within a work. Novak states that luminism, of all American art, is most associated with transcendentalism; the definitional difficulties have contributed to over-use of the term. Luminism shares an emphasis on the effects of light with Impressionism. However, the two styles are markedly different. Luminism is characterized by attention to detail and the hiding of brushstrokes, while impressionism is characterized by lack of detail and an emphasis on brushstrokes. Luminism preceded impressionism, the artists who painted in a luminist style were in no way influenced by Impressionism.
Luminism has been considered to represent a contemplative perception of nature. According to Earl E. Powell, this would be visible in paintings by John Frederick Kensett, who shifted the visual concern for landscape to an interest in quietism, making pictures of mood that depict a poetic experience of nature. Furthermore, his painting Shrewsbury River would "reduce nature to cryptographic essentials of composition...while rarified veils of light and atmosphere reflected in water offer an experience of silence", a description akin to the sublime. Martin Johnson Heade's painting Thunder Storm on Narragansett Bay would represent the greatness of nature and a feeling of the sublime arising from an intimate engagement with nature; the artists who painted in this style did not refer to their own work as "luminism", nor did they articulate any common aesthetic philosophy outside of the guiding principles of the Hudson River School. Many art historians find the term "luminism" problematic. J. Gray Sweeney argues that "the origins of luminism as an art-historical term were entwined with the interests of elite collectors, prominent art dealers, influential curators, art historians, constructions of national identity during the Cold War."
Building on Sweeney's work, Alan Wallach has called for a wholesale rethinking of "luminism" as a historical phenomenon. Ingredients of luminism – such as majestic skies, calm waters, rarefied light, other representations of magnificence – have been appreciated in contemporary American painting; such a trend is visible in artists like James Doolin, April Gornik. and Steven DaLuz. The term neoluminism has been suggested in reference to contemporary American luminism. Luminism article in ArtLex Art Dictionary Wilmerding, John. American Light: the Luminist Movement 1850–1875. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691002804. American Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, a digitized 3 volume exhibition catalog Hudson River school visions: the landscapes of Sanford R. Gifford, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which contains much on Luminism
St. Louis is an independent city and major inland port in the U. S. state of Missouri. It is situated along the western bank of the Mississippi River, which marks Missouri's border with Illinois; the Missouri River merges with the Mississippi River just north of the city. These two rivers combined form the fourth longest river system in the world; the city had an estimated 2017 population of 308,626 and is the cultural and economic center of the St. Louis metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, the second-largest in Illinois, the 22nd-largest in the United States. Before European settlement, the area was a regional center of Native American Mississippian culture; the city of St. Louis was founded in 1764 by French fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, named after Louis IX of France. In 1764, following France's defeat in the Seven Years' War, the area was ceded to Spain and retroceded back to France in 1800. In 1803, the United States acquired the territory as part of the Louisiana Purchase.
During the 19th century, St. Louis became a major port on the Mississippi River, it separated from St. Louis County in 1877, becoming an independent city and limiting its own political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Summer Olympics; the economy of metropolitan St. Louis relies on service, trade, transportation of goods, tourism, its metro area is home to major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, Express Scripts, Boeing Defense, Energizer, Enterprise, Peabody Energy, Post Holdings, Edward Jones, Go Jet and Sigma-Aldrich. Nine of the ten Fortune 500 companies based in Missouri are located within the St. Louis metropolitan area; this city has become known for its growing medical and research presence due to institutions such as Washington University in St. Louis and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. St. Louis has two professional sports teams: the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. One of the city's iconic sights is the 630-foot tall Gateway Arch in the downtown area.
The area that would become St. Louis was a center of the Native American Mississippian culture, which built numerous temple and residential earthwork mounds on both sides of the Mississippi River, their major regional center was at Cahokia Mounds, active from 900 to 1500. Due to numerous major earthworks within St. Louis boundaries, the city was nicknamed as the "Mound City"; these mounds were demolished during the city's development. Historic Native American tribes in the area included the Siouan-speaking Osage people, whose territory extended west, the Illiniwek. European exploration of the area was first recorded in 1673, when French explorers Louis Jolliet and Jacques Marquette traveled through the Mississippi River valley. Five years La Salle claimed the region for France as part of La Louisiane; the earliest European settlements in the area were built in Illinois Country on the east side of the Mississippi River during the 1690s and early 1700s at Cahokia and Fort de Chartres. Migrants from the French villages on the opposite side of the Mississippi River founded Ste.
Genevieve in the 1730s. In early 1764, after France lost the 7 Years' War, Pierre Laclède and his stepson Auguste Chouteau founded what was to become the city of St. Louis; the early French families built the city's economy on the fur trade with the Osage, as well as with more distant tribes along the Missouri River. The Chouteau brothers gained a monopoly from Spain on the fur trade with Santa Fe. French colonists used African slaves as domestic workers in the city. France, alarmed that Britain would demand French possessions west of the Mississippi and the Missouri River basin after the losing New France to them in 1759–60, transferred these to Spain as part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain; these areas remained in Spanish possession until 1803. In 1780 during the American Revolutionary War, St. Louis was attacked by British forces Native American allies, in the Battle of St. Louis; the founding of St. Louis began in 1763. Pierre Laclede led an expedition to set up a fur-trading post farther up the Mississippi River.
Before Laclede had been a successful merchant. For this reason, he and his trading partner Gilbert Antoine de St. Maxent were offered monopolies for six years of the fur trading in that area. Although they were only granted rights to set-up a trading post and other members of his expedition set up a settlement; some historians believe that Laclede's determination to create this settlement was the result of his affair with a married woman Marie-Thérèse Bourgeois Chouteau in New Orleans. Laclede on his initial expedition was accompanied by Auguste Chouteau; some historians still debate. The reason for this lingering question is that all the documentation of the founding was loaned and subsequently destroyed in a fire. For the first few years of St. Louis's existence, the city was not recognized by any of the governments. Although thought to be under the control of the Spanish government, no one asserted any authority over the settlement, thus St. Louis had no local government; this led Laclede to assume a position of civil control, all problems were disposed i
The Phrygian cap or liberty cap is a soft conical cap with the apex bent over, associated in antiquity with several peoples in Eastern Europe and Anatolia, including Phrygia and the Balkans. In early modern Europe it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty through a confusion with the pileus, the felt cap of manumitted slaves of ancient Rome. In artistic representations it signifies the pursuit of liberty, it is used in the coat of arms of certain republics or of republican state institutions in the place where otherwise a crown would be used. It thus came to be identified as a symbol of the republican form of government. A number of national personifications, in particular France's Marianne, are depicted wearing the Phrygian cap. By the 4th century BC the Phrygian cap was associated with Phrygian Attis, the consort of Cybele, the cult of which had by become graecified. At around the same time, the cap appears in depictions of the legendary king Midas and other Phrygians in Greek vase-paintings and sculpture.
Such images predate the earliest surviving literary references to the cap. By extension, the Phrygian cap came to be applied to several other non-Greek-speaking peoples as well. Most notable of these extended senses of "Phrygian" were the Trojans and other western Anatolian peoples, who in Greek perception were synonymous with the Phrygians, whose heroes Paris and Ganymede were all depicted with a Phrygian cap. Other Greek earthenware of antiquity depict Amazons and so-called "Scythian" archers with Phrygian caps. Although these are military depictions, the headgear is distinguished from "Phrygian helmets" by long ear flaps, the figures are identified as "barbarians" by their trousers; the headgear appears in 2nd-century BC Boeotian Tanagra figurines of an effeminate Eros, in various 1st-century BC statuary of the Commagene, in eastern Anatolia. Greek representations of Thracians regularly appear with Phrygian caps, most notably Bendis, the Thracian goddess of the moon and the hunt, Orpheus, a legendary Thracian poet and musician.
While the Phrygian cap was of wool or soft leather, in pre-Hellenistic times the Greeks had developed a military helmet that had a characteristic flipped-over tip. These so-called "Phrygian helmets" were of bronze and in prominent use in Thrace, Magna Graecia and the rest of the Hellenistic world from the 5th century BC up to Roman times. Due to their superficial similarity, the cap and helmet are difficult to distinguish in Greek art unless the headgear is identified as a soft flexible cap by long earflaps or a long neck flap. Confusingly similar are the depictions of the helmets used by cavalry and light infantry, whose headgear – aside from the traditional alopekis caps of fox skin – included stiff leather helmets in imitation of the bronze ones; the Greek concept passed to the Romans in its extended sense, thus encompassed not only to Phrygians or Trojans, but the other near-neighbours of the Greeks. On Trajan's Column, which commemorated Trajan's epic wars with the Dacians, the Phrygian cap adorns the heads of Trajan's Dacian prisoners.
The prisoner, accompanying Trajan in the monumental, 3 m tall statue of Trajan in the ancient Turkish city of Laodicea, is wearing a Phrygian Cap. Parthians appear with Phrygian caps in the 2nd-century Arch of Septimius Severus, which commemorates Roman victories over the Parthian Empire. With Phrygians caps, but for Gauls, appear in 2nd-century friezes built into the 4th century Arch of Constantine; the Phrygian cap reappears in figures related to the first to fourth century religion Mithraism. This astrology-centric Roman mystery cult projected itself with pseudo-Oriental trappings in order to distinguish itself from both traditional Roman religion and from the other mystery cults. In the artwork of the cult, the figures of the god Mithras as well as those of his helpers Cautes and Cautopates are depicted with a Phrygian cap; the function of the Phrygian cap in the cult are unknown, but it is conventionally identified as an accessory of its perserie. Early Christian art build on the same Greco-Roman perceptions of Zoroaster and his "Magi" as experts in the arts of astrology and magic, depict the "three wise men" with Phrygian caps.
In late Republican Rome, a soft felt cap called the pileus served as a symbol of freemen, was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, thereby granting them not only their personal liberty, but libertas— freedom as citizens, with the right to vote. Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC, Brutus and his co-conspirators instrumentalized this symbolism of the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to the republican system; these Roman associations of the pileus with liberty and republicanism were carried forward to the 18th-century, when the pileus was confused with the Phrygian cap, with the Phrygian cap becoming a symbol of those values. In revolutionary FranceIn 1675, the anti-tax and anti-nobility Stamp-Paper revolt erupted in Brittany and north-western France, where it became known as the bonnets rouges uprising after the blue or red caps worn by the insurgents. Although the insurgents are not known to have preferr
Half-breed is a term, now considered derogatory, used to describe anyone, of mixed race. In the 19th century the United States government set aside lands in the western states for people of American Indian and European or European-American ancestry known as the Half-Breed Tract; the Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation was established by the Treaty of Prairie du Chien of 1830. In Article 4 of the 1823 Treaty of Fond du Lac land was granted to the "half-breeds" of Chippewa descent on the islands and shore of St. Mary's River near Sault Ste. Marie. During the Pemmican War trials that began in 1818 in Montreal regarding the destruction of the Selkirk Settlement on the Red River the terms Half-Breeds, Bois-Brulés, Brulés and Métifs were defined as "Persons descended from Indian women by white men, in these trials applied chiefly to those employed by the North-West Company"; the Canadian government used the term half-breed in the late 19th and early 20th century for people who were of mixed Aboriginal and European ancestry.
The North-West Half-Breed Commission established by the Canadian government after the North West Rebellion used the term to refer to the Métis residents of the North-West Territories. In 1885 children born in the Northwest of Métis parents or "pure Indian and white parents" were defined as half-breeds by the commission and were eligible for "Half-breed" Scrip. In Alberta the Métis formed the "Halfbreed Association of Northern Alberta" in 1932. Halfbreed Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Halfbreed Lake in Montana Alan Dwan's silent film The Half-Breed starring Douglas Fairbanks about a half Native American/American man who's guardian dies and is kicked out of his home and must prepare a new life in the world of ruthless white men who insult him; the villain of Mark Twain's novel, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, is a Native American-European-American man named "Injun Joe". Several Western films feature characters with both White American and Native American blood, who are more than not referred to as "half-breeds" as an insult.
"Half-Breed" is a song recorded by Cher and released as a single in 1973. On October 6, 1973, it became Cher's second U. S. number one hit as a solo artist, it was her second solo single to hit the top spot in Canada on the same date. Hudson, Charles. Red and Black: Symposium on Indians in the Old South, Southern Anthropological Society, 1971. ISBN 9780820303086. Perdue, Theda. Mixed Blood Indians, The University of Georgia Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8203-2731-X. Anglo-Metis Bois-Brûlés Métis people Métis people Mixed blood Murray Parker: "The Half-breed Savage/ Quanah Parker", Texas Escapes "Half-breed", Dictionary
The American Art-Union was a subscription-based organization whose goal was to enlighten and educate an American public to a national art, while providing a support system for the viewing and sales of art “executed by artists in the United States or by American artists abroad." Art unions had been popular since the early 19th century in Europe. It was the British version — Art Union of London —, used as a model for the American Art-Union. For five dollars a year, the members of the AAU would receive a copy of the minutes from the annual meeting, free admission to the Gallery, at least one original engraving published by the Union from an original piece of art by a contemporary American artist, in New York City, the members received a ticket in a lottery to win an original piece of art from within the collection. In its thirteen years, the AAU became the largest art union in America, it made a significant impact on the art literacy of Americans, developed a taste for an American kind of art, nationalistic, supported the custom of artists and museums.
From 1839 until 1851, New York City's population would not hit the 400,000 point, but it is estimated that over three million guests attended the Gallery. The organization grew from 814 subscriptions, in 1840, with art valued at $4,145 to 18,960 subscriptions, valued in excess of $100,000; the timing for the AAU could not have been better. The American public and politics combined to produce a rapid rise in the popularity of the AAU. A growing, literate middle class was keen to pursue scientific and leisure activities which they had been unable to pursue or afford in the past. A new generation of businessmen wanted to surround themselves with all the appearances and habits of their more wealthy counterparts; the numbers of newspapers and periodicals was growing and the desire for print with images was preferred. The global popularity of science and art, as well as an interest in “exotic people and places” could be accessed through lectures, subscriptions to special interest groups and such diverse venues as P.
T. Barnum's, Peale's Gallery of Fine Arts; the business of advertising was in its infancy and the companies could provide consumers with commodities at their own postal box within shrinking delivery schedules due in large to a growing rail system. The U. S. Congress was promoting westward advancement and Indian resettlement. Further, emigrants from the plains were pushing the agenda of Manifest Destiny, they would become some of the first to help settle. Businessman James Herring opened the Apollo Gallery in New York City in 1838, to provide a place for American artists to exhibit and sell their art; the Apollo Gallery was the first gallery open at night. It was at this time that he received an analysis of the second year experiment from “The Edinburgh Association for the Promotion of Fine Arts in Scotland”, thus inspired, he encouraged a group of other prominent New York City businessmen to develop the concept using the Apollo Gallery as their venue for America's first art union. Although the concept was popular, it was not sufficient to remunerate Herring.
However, he would stay active with the group, becoming the first Corresponding Secretary on the Committee of Management and the only artist. A new venue and a new name—the American Art-Union—set itself a double task within its Charter, dated May 7, 1840; the first was a moral task of developing the taste of the middling classes towards the best kind of American art and its themes. The second, was to provide a venue for the exhibition and sale of art from contemporary and emerging American artists within its “Perpetual Free Gallery”; the AAU's management were among the wealthiest, most conservative and well connected men in New York City. They were first generation wealth and had close ties in business and social endeavors. There were only five presidents in the thirteen years and of the 211 possible choices of individuals for office, the duties were performed by eighty-two; the Committee of Management in 1839 was: John W. Francis, M. D. President, Philip Hone, J. Watson Webb, John P. Ridner, John L. Morton, Augustus Greele, James W. Gerard, William L. Morris, William Kemble, T. N. Campbell, Aaron R. Thompson, George Bruce, Duncan C.
Pell, Eleazar Parmly, F. W. Edmonds, Benjamin Nathan, Recording Secretary, James Herring, Corresponding Secretary. From a patriarchal position, the Committee deemed itself best able to choose the artists, select the art work that would be chosen as part of the AAU's permanent collection and choose the pieces or pieces to be engraved and published. Further, as “merchant amateurs” they would be the best suited to manage the Art-Union, “just like a good merchant”, their goal, pointedly was “to establish a National School of Art,” one, American—illustrative of American scenery and American manners”. The Artists: George Caleb Bingham, Thomas Cole, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Ferdinand Raab, Francis D’Avignon, Thomas Doney, Asher Brown Durand, Daniel Huntington, John Frederick Kensett, Emanuel Got
Métis in Canada
The Métis in Canada are groups of peoples in Canada who trace their descent to First Nations peoples and European settlers French in the early decades. They are recognized as one of Canada's aboriginal peoples under the Constitution Act of 1982, along with First Nations and Inuit peoples; as of 2016, they number over 587,545. Canadian Métis represent the majority of people that identify as Métis, although there are a number of Métis in the United States. While the Métis developed as the mixed-race descendants of early unions between First Nations and colonial-era European settlers, within generations, a distinct Métis culture developed; the women in the unions in eastern Canada were Wabanaki and Menominee. Their unions with European men engaged in the fur trade in the Old Northwest were of the type known as Marriage à la façon du pays. After New France was ceded to Great Britain's control in 1763, there was an important distinction between French Métis born of francophone voyageur fathers, the Anglo-Métis descended from English or Scottish fathers.
Today these two cultures have coalesced into location-specific Métis traditions. This does not preclude a range of other Métis cultural expressions across North America; such polyethnic people were referred to by other terms, many of which are now considered to be offensive, such as Mixed-bloods, Half-breeds, Bois-Brûlés, Black Scots, Jackatars. The contemporary Métis in Canada are a specific Indigenous people. While people of Métis culture or heritage are found across Canada, the traditional Métis "homeland" includes much of the Canadian Prairies; the most known group are the "Red River Métis", centring on southern and central parts of Manitoba along the Red River of the North. Related are the Métis in the United States those in border areas such as northern Michigan, the Red River Valley, eastern Montana; these were areas in which there was considerable Aboriginal and European mixing due to the 19th-century fur trade. But they do not have a federally recognized status in the United States, except as enrolled members of federally recognized tribes.
Although Métis existed further west than today's Manitoba, much less is known about the Métis of Northern Canada. In 2016, 587,545 people in Canada self-identified as Métis, they represented 1.5 % of the total Canadian population. Most Métis people today are descendants of unions between generations of Métis individuals and live in Canadian society with people of other ethnicities; the exception are the Métis in rural and northern parts, who still live in close proximity to First Nations communities. Over the past century, countless Métis have assimilated into the general European Canadian populations. Métis heritage is more common than is realized. Geneticists estimate that 50 percent of today's population in Western Canada has some Aboriginal ancestry. Most people with more distant ancestry are not part of culture. Unlike among First Nations peoples, there is no distinction between Treaty status and non-Treaty status; the Métis did not sign treaties with Canada, with the exception of an adhesion to Treaty 3 in Northwest Ontario.
This adherence was never implemented by the federal government. The legal definition is not yet developed. Section Thirty-five of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes the rights of Indian, Métis and Inuit people. In 2003, the Supreme Court of Canada defined a Métis as someone who self-identifies as Métis, has an ancestral connection to the historic Métis community, is accepted by the modern community with continuity to the historic Métis community; the most well-known and documented mixed-ancestry population in Canadian history are the groups who developed during the fur trade in south-eastern Rupert's Land in the Red River Settlement and the Southbranch Settlements. In the late nineteenth century, they organized politically and had confrontations with the Canadian government in an effort to assert their independence; this was not the only place where métissage between Indigenous people occurred. It was part of the history of colonization from the earliest days of settlements on the Atlantic Coast throughout the Americas.
But the strong sense of ethnic national identity among the French- and Michif-speaking Métis along the Red River, demonstrated during the Riel Rebellions, resulted in wider use of the term "Métis" as the main word used by Canadians for all mixed Euro-Native groups. Continued organizing and political activity resulted in "the Métis" gaining official recognition from the national government as one of the recognized Aboriginal groups in S.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, which states: 35. The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the Aboriginal People of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed. In this Act, "Aboriginal Peoples of Canada" includes the Indian, Métis Peoples of Canada.... Section-35 does not define criteria for an individual, Métis
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the largest art museum in the United States. With 6,953,927 visitors to its three locations in 2018, it was the third most visited art museum in the world, its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Museum Mile in Manhattan's Upper East Side is by area one of the world's largest art galleries. A much smaller second location, The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, contains an extensive collection of art and artifacts from Medieval Europe. On March 18, 2016, the museum opened the Met Breuer museum at Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side; the permanent collection consists of works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met maintains extensive holdings of African, Oceanian and Islamic art.
The museum is home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments and accessories, as well as antique weapons and armor from around the world. Several notable interiors, ranging from 1st-century Rome through modern American design, are installed in its galleries; the Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 for the purposes of opening a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. It opened on February 20, 1872, was located at 681 Fifth Avenue; the Met's permanent collection is curated by seventeen separate departments, each with a specialized staff of curators and scholars, as well as six dedicated conservation departments and a Department of Scientific Research. The permanent collection includes works of art from classical antiquity and ancient Egypt and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, an extensive collection of American and modern art; the Met maintains extensive holdings of African, Oceanian and Islamic art. The museum is home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments and accessories, antique weapons and armor from around the world.
A great number of period rooms, ranging from 1st-century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met's galleries. In addition to its permanent exhibitions, the Met organizes and hosts large traveling shows throughout the year; the current chairman of the board, Daniel Brodsky, was elected in 2011 and became chairman three years after director Philippe de Montebello retired at the end of 2008. On March 1, 2017, the BBC reported that Daniel Weiss, the Met's president and COO, would temporarily act as CEO for the museum. Following the departure of Thomas P. Campbell as the Met's director and CEO on June 30, 2017, the search for a new director of the museum was assigned to the human resources firm Phillips Oppenheim to present a new candidate for the position "by the end of the fiscal year in June" of 2018; the next director will report to Weiss as the current president of the museum. In April 2018, Max Hollein was named director. Beginning in the late 19th century, the Met started acquiring ancient art and artifacts from the Near East.
From a few cuneiform tablets and seals, the Met's collection of Near Eastern art has grown to more than 7,000 pieces. Representing a history of the region beginning in the Neolithic Period and encompassing the fall of the Sasanian Empire and the end of Late Antiquity, the collection includes works from the Sumerian, Sasanian, Assyrian and Elamite cultures, as well as an extensive collection of unique Bronze Age objects; the highlights of the collection include a set of monumental stone lamassu, or guardian figures, from the Northwest Palace of the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II. Though the Met first acquired a group of Peruvian antiquities in 1882, the museum did not begin a concerted effort to collect works from Africa and the Americas until 1969, when American businessman and philanthropist Nelson A. Rockefeller donated his more than 3,000-piece collection to the museum. Today, the Met's collection contains more than 11,000 pieces from sub-Saharan Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Americas and is housed in the 40,000-square-foot Rockefeller Wing on the south end of the museum.
The collection ranges from 40,000-year-old indigenous Australian rock paintings, to a group of 15-foot-tall memorial poles carved by the Asmat people of New Guinea, to a priceless collection of ceremonial and personal objects from the Nigerian Court of Benin donated by Klaus Perls. The range of materials represented in the Africa and Americas collection is undoubtedly the widest of any department at the Met, including everything from precious metals to porcupine quills; the Met's Asian department holds a collection of Asian art, of more than 35,000 pieces, arguably the most comprehensive in the US. The collection dates back to the founding of the museum: many of the philanthropists who made the earliest gifts to the museum included Asian art in their collections. Today, an entire wing of the museum is dedicated to the Asian collection, spans 4,000 years of Asian art; every Asian civilization is represented in the Met's Asian department, the pieces on display include every type of decorative art, from painting and printmaking to sculpture and metalworking.
The department is well known for its comprehensive collection of Chinese calligraphy and painting, as well as for its Indian sculptures and Tibetan works, the arts of Burma and Thailand. All three ancient religions of India – Hinduism and Jainism – are well represented in these s