Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
In the words of the historian Jacob Burckhardt, fifteenth-century Italy was "the place where the notion of the individual was born." In keeping with this notion, early Renaissance Italy hosted the first great age of portraiture in Europe.
Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I am just back from Long Beach, CA, where I spoke at TED, the annual four-day conference started twenty-five years ago and dedicated to the concept of "Ideas Worth Spreading."
Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012
One hundred and forty years ago, on February 20, 1872, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors to the public for the first time.
Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012
A Metropolitan Museum patron interested in Islamic art in the 1880s would have found little of relevance on display.1 By 1910, however, the situation was very much improved, and in the century since then, the Islamic art displays at the Museum have become the largest in the Western world. This essay briefly describes the evolution of the display of Islamic art at the Metropolitan Museum—from the first largely visual exhibitions to the present scholarly organization by style, material, and civilization.
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
"Pity my life and be my wife."
These words were delivered in a round, white box to a Miss Oliver in Hythe, Southampton, in the mid-nineteenth century. The box contained a beautiful Valentine's Day card covered in lace, with a basket of textile flowers in its center. Although we may never know if Miss Oliver accepted the somewhat woefully expressed petition of the man who loved her, we do know that the card and even its container survived the test of time, cherished at the very least as a keepsake.
Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012
Left: Heroic Africans exhibition catalogue; Right: Commemorative figure of a priestess, 19th century. Cameroon, Grassfields region, Bangwa chiefdom. Bamileke peoples. Wood, pigments. Musée Dapper, Paris (3343)
Alisa LaGamma, curator of Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures and author of the accompanying catalogue, recently discussed the Commemorative figure of a priestess, one of the masterpieces from the exhibition, for the Yale University Press blog. Don't miss the rare opportunity to see the powerful figure, on loan from the Musée Dapper, Paris (3343). The exhibition at the Met closes on January 29 before traveling to the Museum Rietberg in Zurich.
Posted: Friday, January 13, 2012
This week we celebrated the completion of the rebuilding of the Met's extraordinary American Wing, and in doing so unequivocally acknowledged the importance of the arts of this nation to the Metropolitan Museum.
Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012
By any standards, Lisbon's Hebrew Bible—now on view at the Met—is a masterpiece of medieval illumination. Its acquisition in 1804 by the National Library of Portugal may be credited to the enlightened intellectualism of the institution's first librarian, António Ribeiro dos Santos.
Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012
The Museum Library, authorized by the Museum's 1870 charter and formally established in 1880, is one of the world's great collections of art historical research materials. However, thousands of printed books in the Library and other departments of the Museum are deteriorating rapidly through heavy use, acidic paper, or both. In some cases, important information has already been lost.
Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012