America Receiving the Gift of the Nations, (sculpture)
Nicola D'Ascenzo Studios
D'Ascenzo, Nicola 1871-1954
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da
1914-1916. Installed 1916
American opalescent glass
Save Outdoor Sculpture, New Jersey survey, 1995.
Image on file.
The information provided about this artwork was compiled as part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Inventories of American Painting and Sculpture database, designed to provide descriptive and location information on artworks by American artists in public and private collections worldwide.
A mosaic frieze extending across entry facade of the Center of the Arts. The mosaic depicts thirty-six figures in composition, twenty-nine of these advance from right and left bringing their gifts and presenting them to the figure of America. America, dressed in a long flowing robe, sits and extends her arms out to her sides. On America's left stands her son, Opportunity, while on her right is her daughter, Equality. Kneeling at the feet of America are two Native Americans. Alongside the figure of Opportunity stand the cavaliers, with the figure of Christopher Columbus in the background. A little to the fore is a long procession of figures who have contributed to the upbuilding of western civilization. First in this group is Greece who holds the model of a temple in her hand, typifying classical architecture. Rome is next in line carrying the standard and fasces. The moral law is represented by the figure of Moses bearing in his hands the tablets of the Ten Commandments. Arabia advances with an abacus representing mathematics. Raphael, with his famous painting "The Sistine Madonna," is the next figure in this group. He is followed by Michelangelo. Both of these figures represent the painting, sculpture, and architecture of the Renaissance. In the right wing of the frieze three more figures advance -- Shakespeare, representing English literature; Longfellow, poetry; and Palestrina, church music.
Standing beside America's daughter Equality is William Penn with a group of Quakers. This group represents religious freedom. The figure of George Washington stands in the background. On the right side of America, the procession is made up of the bearers of gifts from the Orient. The first to come, bringing her gift of a vase, representative of the ceramic arts, is Japan. Persia offers a gift which suggests the perfection of textiles and weaving. A figure from Babylonia brings her contribution of the basic principles of building construction. India is the last figure from the East. England is represented by the figure of William Tyndale, bearing in his hand a copy of his translation of the Bible. From Germany comes Johannes Gutenberg and his moveable type. Moliere, the master of comedy; Walt Whitman, representative of democratic thought in literature, and Dante, representing epic poetry, are the three figures in the left wing of the frieze.
Art Inventories Catalog, Smithsonian American Art Museums
Rutgers University Whitman Center for the Arts 2nd & Cooper Streets Camden New Jersey 08102