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European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

ESDA

The fifty thousand objects in the Museum's comprehensive and historically important collection of European sculpture and decorative arts reflect the development of a number of art forms in Western European countries from the early fifteenth through the early twentieth century. The holdings include sculpture in many sizes and media, woodwork and furniture, ceramics and glass, metalwork and jewelry, horological and mathematical instruments, and tapestries and textiles. Ceramics made in Asia for export to European markets and sculpture and decorative arts produced in Latin America during this period are also included among these works.

Now at the Met

The Dyes Have It: Exploring Color and Tapestries

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Many #tapestrytuesday readers have asked why some tapestries in the Met's collection have such diverse color palettes. As it turns out, the question you should be asking isn't "Why?" but "Dye?" Understanding the preservation or degradation of a tapestry's color is a complex sort of query whose answer is largely influenced by the dyes used to color its threads. To help unravel the mystery of tapestry colors, I recently sat down for a fascinating lesson in dyeing with two of the Museum's tapestry experts: Cristina Carr, conservator in the Department of Textile Conservation; and Nobuko Shibayama, associate research scientist in the Department of Scientific Research.

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Living on the Edge: Tapestry Borders

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In the world of tapestry, it's hip to be square—or rectangular, for that matter. Why, you ask? The answer is quite simple: borders.

You might have noticed that a decorative, tapestry-woven strip traces the edges of many tapestries, which is referred to as the border. While the border is very much a part of the physical tapestry itself, it often has a personality all its own. And, while some border designs were reused on multiple sets of unrelated tapestries, these ornamental edges can still be thought of as something like a thumbprint, a distinguishing characteristic that is apparent only upon close inspection.

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Now at the Met

Art Song in Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's France

Michael Cirigliano II, Website Editor, Digital Media Department

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014

The mid-nineteenth century was a period of incredible stagnation for French music, especially for those composers working in the vocal arts. Only five new French operas were commissioned by the Opéra Comique in Paris between 1852 and 1870, and France had yet to forge their own style of art song, despite the widespread interest German composers had developed in the musical form earlier in the century. However, the passage of multiple revolutions and failed empires in the mid-nineteenth century gave French artists across all disciplines a spectrum of intense emotions to convey, and the wealth of art song in the country quickly began to accumulate.

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Now at the Met

Tapestries Report All the News That's Fit to Weave

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Before the advent of Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, television, or the daily paper, looking at tapestries was one way to learn about the news of the day, observe fashionable trends in clothing and interior design, and perhaps even make a political statement. Since it is #tapestrytuesday, let's examine how the social medium that is a tapestry just might have been an early form of social media.

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Now at the Met

Making a Tapestry—How Did They Do That?

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014

You are walking through a museum, your mind lost in thought (your feet perhaps aching ever so slightly), when suddenly you look up and see a fascinating object. You immediately begin trying to identify the specimen set before you: it's a fabric . . . no, it's an embroidery . . . wait . . . it's . . . the wall label says it's a tapestry! A tapestry?

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Now at the Met

Introducing #tapestrytuesday

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A riddle, if you will: What type of artwork did Henry VIII love so much that he owned at least 2,500 examples, and Louis XIV and the Medici family value so immensely that they each established their own production workshops?

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Featured Publication—Interview with the Photographer: Joe Coscia

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chief Photographer Joe Coscia has worked at the Museum for more than twenty years. One of his recent assignments was to photograph the works of art for Masterpieces of European Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400–1900, written by Ian Wardropper and published last fall. I asked him about the unique work of a museum photographer, as well as the collaborations and complex choices involved in shooting the masterpieces illustrated in this book.

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Four Extraordinary Sculptures Acquired and On View

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Friday, July 9, 2010

Each year, the Met holds four meetings at which curators present works of art to a special committee of Trustees for possible purchase by the Museum. It is a thoughtful and rigorous process, and it is always a thrill to see the acquired objects when they finally arrive in our galleries. This past year's purchases included four exquisite works of sculpture spanning from the ancient world to the mid-eighteenth century.

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Messerschmidt Bust Enters the Collection

Posted: Friday, January 29, 2010

Earlier this month, the Met acquired its first work by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736–1783), the Austrian sculptor best known for his series of character heads, which are physiognomic and psychological studies.

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About this Blog

Now at the Met offers in-depth articles and multimedia features about the Museum's current exhibitions, events, research, announcements, behind-the-scenes activities, and more.