The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly

  • James Hampton, The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly, ca. 1950-1964, mixed media, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of anonymous donors, 1970.353.1-.116

Folk and Self-Taught Art affirms the basic human impluse to create. The museum has long championed self-taught art as an embodiment of the democratic spirit. It is one of the only major American museums to advocate for a populist and uniquely American voice within the context of what is traditionally considered great art. These works by untrained artists are powerfully evocative of a personal vision.

James Hampton’s entire artistic output is this single work, which he constructed for more than fourteen years in a rented garage, transforming its drab interior into a heavenly vision. The Throne and its associated components are made from discarded materials and found objects such as old furniture, cardboard cutouts, and light bulbs. All were scavenged from secondhand shops, the streets, or the federal office buildings in which Hampton worked as a janitor. To complete each element, Hampton used shimmering metallic foils and brilliant purple paper (now faded to tan) to evoke spiritual awe and splendor. Praises as America’s greatest work of visionary art, The Throne reveal one man’s faith in God as well as his hope for salvation.

Smithsonian American Art Museum: Commemorative Guide. Nashville, TN: Beckon Books, 2015.

The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly
ca. 1950-1964
Not on view
dimensions variable
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of anonymous donors

Mediums Description
mixed media
  • Allegory – religion – salvation
  • Religion – Christianity
  • Monument – religious – altar
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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