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The Certain Eye II: Carpeaux Diem

Jim Draper, Henry R. Kravis Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, speaking to IFA students in the exhibition The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

As part of the new workshop series The Certain Eye, Met curator Jim Draper offered a special tour of the exhibition The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux to a small group of IFA students on April 10, 2014. An alumnus of the Curatorial Studies program, and the Henry R. Kravis Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, Mr. Draper conceived the exhibition with Édouard Papet, a colleague at the Musée d'Orsay. The lively discussion focused particularly on Carpeaux's mastery of materials—whether terracotta or marble—and his ability to use them to tell compellingly human stories. Asked about his decision to undertake the exhibition, Mr. Draper paused and said he thought that in many ways he had been leading up to this project his entire career.

IFA students in the exhibition

IFA students in the exhibition

Angelina Cavalli, a Curatorial Studies student who has just completed her M.A. and will begin work in the Metropolitan's Development Department in July, responded enthusiastically to the visit. She remarked, "It was such a treat to walk through the Carpeaux exhibition with Jim Draper. In addition to his wealth of knowledge about the artist, he was able to provide students with curatorial insights into how and why he chose certain objects and the story that he wished to tell through the specific organization of the show."

Elizabeth Eisenberg, research associate for a 2016 Met exhibition about Jerusalem, was also inspired by the tour:

Stepping out of the classroom and into the galleries always brings art history to life, but visiting the Carpeaux exhibition with Jim Draper—who was once a Curatorial Studies student at the Institute himself—was a real privilege. Curators' decisions shape a visitor's perception of the works of art. Getting an inside view of how that responsibility is handled is an invaluable opportunity unique to this program.

Jim Draper also shared his particular passion for Carpeaux's work in "Healer," an episode of the Museum's online feature 82nd and Fifth.

A student speaks to the group about a sculpture

A student speaking to the group about one of the sculptures in the exhibition