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Event Highlights: February 8–11

Posted: Monday, February 8, 2016

The Museum offers hundreds of events and programs each month—including lectures, performances, tours, family activities, and more. The following listings are just a sample of our upcoming programs.

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Van Eyck's The Crucifixion; The Last Judgment: Rethinking a Masterwork

Maryan Ainsworth, Curator, Department of European Paintings; and Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The past as fixed in amber? Nothing more to learn about an artwork? Nonsense! Digging deeper into the history of a work of art depends on the questions one asks and the ways in which scholars use the investigatory tools at their disposal.

On January 25, the Department of European Paintings let everyone in on one of the most fascinating and unexpected reassessments I can think of, relating to one of the Met's most prestigious masterpieces: Jan van Eyck's "diptych" (but was it a diptych?) of the Crucifixion and Last Judgment, which is on view through April 24 in the exhibition A New Look at a Van Eyck Masterpiece.

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Wordplay at the Met: The Drawings of Matthias Buchinger

Freyda Spira, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2016

A longtime interest of renowned conjurer and collector Ricky Jay, Matthias Buchinger (1674–1739) was a master of calligraphy and micrography—a traditional art form dating to the late ninth century, in which minute lines of text are used to shape patterns or forms. However, what initially drew Jay to Buchinger was the latter's unparalleled legerdemain. As a magician of the sleight-of-hand variety himself, Jay was fascinated by Buchinger's range of unusual entertainments and his ability, despite having no hands, to grip and manipulate objects between his two appendages. The exhibition Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger's Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay, draws primarily from Ricky Jay's collection, and explores for the first time the work of the "Little Man of Nuremberg."

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Getting Ready for Valentin de Boulogne's Big Day

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, January 25, 2016

On October 5, 2016, the Department of European Paintings will open a magnificent exhibition—the first ever to be devoted to Valentin de Boulogne (1591–1632), one of the most original followers of Caravaggio. A French painter active in Rome, Valentin was famous in his own day, and his unique voice continues to speak to us now. I first encountered his paintings in the Louvre in 1967, and I have been hooked ever since. This is an exhibition I have wanted to do for years.

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My Early Life with the Middle Kingdom

Dorothea Arnold, Curator Emerita, Department of Egyptian Art

Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I began my career as an archaeologist more than fifty years ago, in the vast ancient necropolis on the west bank of the Nile opposite modern-day Luxor. On behalf of the German Archaeological Institute, I worked with a team that excavated the big rock-cut tomb of the overseer of troops Intef, who served Mentuhotep II, the king who reunited Egypt and thus founded the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2030–1650 B.C.). We were lucky, because in the very first season we found a beautiful statue of the general and uncovered a painted battle scene.

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Tiles, Carpets, and Panels: A Few of Peter Hristoff's Favorite Things

Peter Hristoff, Artist in Residence, Education Department and Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2016

During my upcoming Artists on Artwork tour on January 29, I will engage in a conversation with visitors about works in the Museum's collection that I find particularly relevant to my practice. It's particularly fitting that the event will be held in Galleries for Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, as a number of the works I will be highlighting are on display in those galleries. Here's a preview of some of the artworks I will discuss.

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Jewelry from the Haraga Treasure, United at the Met

Diana Craig Patch, Lila Acheson Wallace Curator in Charge, Department of Egyptian Art; and Kei Yamamoto, Lila Acheson Wallace Research Associate, Department of Egyptian Art

Posted: Monday, January 11, 2016

The unexpected occurred just over a year ago, when the archaeological community learned of a surprising group of objects being offered for sale. Called the "Haraga Treasure," these pieces had belonged to the St. Louis Society, a local chapter of the Archaeological Institute of America, for about one hundred years. The objects found their way to St. Louis, Missouri, as a result of a generous act the Egyptian government practiced during the first seventy years of the twentieth century.

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From the Archives: How Madame X Came to the Met

Stephanie L. Herdrich, Assistant Research Curator, The American Wing

Posted: Friday, January 8, 2016

One hundred years ago today, on January 8, 1916, John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) offered to sell his masterpiece Madame X to the Met. Writing from his home in London to his longtime friend and Met Director Edward "Ned" Robinson, Sargent explained, "my portrait of Mme. Gautreau is now . . . at the San Francisco exhibition, and now that it is in America I rather feel inclined to let it stay there if a Museum should want it. I suppose it is the best thing I have done. I would let the Metropolitan Museum have it for £1,000."

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New Acquisitions Added to Korea: 100 Years of Collecting at the Met

Soyoung Lee, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Don't miss these must-see recent gifts to the Museum, all of which are now installed in the Arts of Korea gallery as part of the exhibition Korea: 100 Years of Collecting at the Met, on view through March 27, 2016.

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Reinforcing Sierra Leonean Identity: Alphonso Lisk-Carew

Julie Crooks, Guest Blogger

Posted: Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Alphonso Lisk-Carew was a Sierra Leonean photographer whose practice was firmly rooted in the histories of Sierra Leone. Lisk-Carew's career spanned over fifty years, and his photography threw into sharp relief Sierra Leone's myriad local personalities, cityscapes, cultural practices, and natural resources. Through his lens, Lisk-Carew witnessed the development of Sierra Leone under the colonial regime, and became one amongst many early Sierra Leonean photographers who had a hand in shaping the country's history.

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Cruel Elegance in an Eight-Hundred-Year-Old Chinese Brocade

Pengliang Lu, Henry A. Kissinger Curatorial Fellow, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reader beware: although elegant in appearance, the textile shown above depicts a moment of cruelty! This extraordinary Jin dynasty (1115–1234) silk brocade with a repeated pattern illustrating a swan hunt is now on view through June 19, 2016, alongside other important and unusual textiles in the exhibition Chinese Textiles: Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection.

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Creating Virtual and Physical Models of the Pyramid Complex of Senwosret III

Ronald E. Street, Senior Manager of 3D Image, Molding, and Prototyping, Merchandise and Retail Department; and Dieter Arnold, Curator, Department of Egyptian Art

Posted: Monday, December 21, 2015

In 1990, The Metropolitan Museum of Art began excavating and studying the pyramid complex of King Senwosret III at Dahshur, Egypt (figs. 2 and 3). Built around 1870 B.C., the huge complex sits near the edge of a desert plateau that now overlooks vast palm groves. The buildings were razed to the ground in the Ramesside Period (ca. 1295–1069 B.C.) and its stones were removed for reuse in new construction projects. Despite this destruction, the Met's archaeologists have been able to establish the likely appearance of the original monument by using the remaining foundations to determine the plan and dimensions of the complex. A large number of surviving architectural fragments enable the reconstruction of its enormous aboveground structures, while the reconstruction of its wall decoration from thousands of fragments suggests the proportions as well as some exterior features of the temples and chapels.

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Heritage in Peril

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2015

This past October, The Met hosted a conference in Istanbul with Columbia University and Koç University about the crucial issues around cultural heritage preservation in Syria and Iraq. The gathering allowed us to convene key participants from both countries who would not otherwise have been able to get a visa to attend such a meeting in the United States. These participants shared their firsthand accounts of the challenging situations under which they are currently working as they try to salvage the heritage of their countries.

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Audible Visuals: J. Kenneth Moore on the Met's Musical Instruments

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Musical Instruments: Highlights of The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents over one hundred exemplary works from the Met's comprehensive collection of musical instruments, which spans thousands of years and cultures across the globe. I spoke with J. Kenneth Moore—Frederick P. Rose Curator in Charge of the Department of Musical Instruments and an author of this catalogue—about the instruments in the Met's collection, the connection between musical instruments and other works of art, and the stories behind these objects that are stunning both musically and visually.

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An Incredible Classroom: Peter Hristoff on Teaching at the Met

Peter Hristoff, Artist in Residence, Education Department and Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Monday, December 14, 2015

My residency at The Metropolitan Museum of Art has prompted me to make the opportunities and experiences I have over the year an integral part of both my studio and teaching practices—two elements of my life that I have continuously merged over the years. My goal is to make the interchange between these two elements as seamless as possible, and I have been determined to allow the Met residency to saturate my work and my teaching.

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A Very Special Visitor: Albrecht Dürer's Woodblock for The Fifth Knot

Femke Speelberg, Associate Curator in Ornament and Architectural Prints, Drawings, and Modelbooks, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Friday, December 11, 2015

The current exhibition Fashion and Virtue: Textile Patterns and the Print Revolution, 1520–1620, on view through January 10, 2016, celebrates the first hundred years of the production of a new genre of popular booklets that distributed designs for textile decorations all over Europe. These textile pattern books were first printed in the 1520s, about twenty years after ornament and design had emerged as autonomous and very popular subjects in prints and books. This significant development is illustrated in the exhibition by a case study focused on a very special series of prints known as The Six Knots (figs. 1 and 2).

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What Artists See: The Artist Project, Season 4

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Have you tuned in to The Artist Project yet? If not, you really should. Now in its fourth season, each episode of this web series features a contemporary artist who chooses a work from the Met's collection and talks about why he or she finds it so important.

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Photographing the Gold Coast: The Lutterodt Studios

Erin Haney, Guest Blogger

Posted: Monday, December 7, 2015

Who were those Gold Coast men? Lamentably, we are often missing crucial information on photographs from the 1880s. Still, it's worth making some educated guesses about what is signified in Albert George Lutterodt and George A. G. Lutterodt's Five Men.

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The Upside-down Catfish

Isabel Stünkel, Associate Curator, Department of Egyptian Art

Posted: Monday, December 7, 2015

Who can resist a piece of exquisite jewelry thought to bear magical properties?

This wonderful fish pendant on loan from the National Museums Scotland is on view through January 24, 2016, in the exhibition Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom. Exemplifying the high craftsmanship of jewelry makers during the Middle Kingdom (ca. 2030–1650 B.C.), this pendant also embodies the magic that was part of life for the ancient Egyptians, which they incorporated into a wide variety of objects.

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The Art of Display: Mounting Arms and Armor in The Royal Hunt

Sean Patrick Belair, Annette de la Renta Fellow, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The exhibition The Royal Hunt: Courtly Pursuits in Indian Art, on view through December 8, brings together Rajasthani and Mughal paintings from the collections of the Met's Department of Asian Art and Department of Islamic Art, as well as from private collections. These paintings, which depict the extravagance and pageantry of the hunting culture in the royal courts of India, are shown alongside a selection of Indian hunting weapons and accessories from the Department of Arms and Armor. Among the objects are painted matchlocks, an elephant goad, gunpowder flasks carved with fantastical creatures, weapons decorated with elephants and tigers, and other tools of the hunt.

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Uncovering Middle Kingdom Egypt with Adela Oppenheim

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

During Egypt's transformational Middle Kingdom period (ca. 2030–1650 B.C.), earlier artistic conventions, cultural principles, religious beliefs, and political systems were revived and reimagined. Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom, on view through January 24, presents a comprehensive picture of the art and culture of the Middle Kingdom—arguably the least known of Egypt's three kingdoms, and yet one that saw the creation of powerful, compelling works rendered with great subtlety and sensitivity. I recently spoke with Adela Oppenheim, co-author of the catalogue and curator of the exhibition, about this pivotal period and how this publication illustrates the profound changes in ancient Egyptian culture.

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Prayer, Placement, and Absolution: Peter Hristoff on Islamic Prayer Rugs

Peter Hristoff, Artist in Residence, Education Department and Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

At a recent MetFridays event in the Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, I spoke about prayer rugs (seccades)—not as a scholar of the Islamic arts, but as an artist. In 1997 I started a series of drawings based on my assumptions of what people pray for and why they pray. I eventually turned these drawings into a suite of serigraph prints entitled Ten Prayers that I exhibited, in September 1998, at my first one-man show at the Yapi Kredi Cultural Center's Kazim Taskent Gallery in Istanbul. These works then led to a series of larger "rug" pieces done on rice paper, which combined the motifs I was using in my paintings (masks, birds, skulls, stylized flowers, cosmological symbols, and figures) with the formal structure of Anatolian carpets.

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Returning Clarity and Renewing Vibrancy: Treating Valentin Bousch's The Deluge

Drew Anderson, Conservator, Department of Objects Conservation; and Janis Mandrus, Associate Conservator, Department of Objects Conservation

Posted: Monday, November 30, 2015

We recently completed the conservation of a stained-glass window by French artist Valentin Bousch (1514–1541), who is considered to be one of the most important and innovative artists working in stained glass in the early sixteenth century. Bousch is widely known for his painterly style and virtuoso skill as a glass cutter. The goal of our treatment was to remove the numerous disfiguring lead repairs that detracted from the artist's original aesthetic.

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Giving Thanks before the Pilgrims: The Art of Feasting in the Ancient Americas

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2015

It is unsurprising that Europeans arriving in the New World, including the first English pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, quickly adopted corn as a staple grain. What remains a mystery, however, is how the early arrivals to the Western Hemisphere thousands of years ago first began creating corn, or maize. Unlike Old World grains, corn (Zea mays) was not technically "domesticated," because there is no wild form of the plant. Rather, it was entirely created from ancestral wild grasses by human populations in the fertile highlands and valleys of modern-day Mexico.

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Unfolding the Narrative: Depictions of the Royal Hunt

Kalyani Madhura Ramachandran, Former Solow Graduate Intern in South and Southeast Asian Art, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

As a recent graduate intern in the Department of Asian Art, I had the chance to observe the installation of the exhibition The Royal Hunt: Courtly Pursuits in Indian Art, on view through December 8, 2015. This was a rare opportunity for me to not only interact with a diverse set of experts across the Museum, all of whom worked collaboratively towards putting the exhibition together, but especially to examine up-close the objects on display.

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Food and Feasts in Middle Kingdom Egypt

Adela Oppenheim, Curator, Department of Egyptian Art

Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Central to the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States is an elaborate, festive meal, which makes this week a perfect time to look at how ancient Egyptians feasted during the Middle Kingdom and how food is depicted in the exhibition Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom.

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Now on View: Lithographs by John Singer Sargent

Constance C. McPhee, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum's recent exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends featured paintings and watercolors by the celebrated American artist John Singer Sargent. Less well-known is the fact that the artist was also active as a printmaker. In 1895, he made a fascinating group of lithographs as he prepared to send one work to a large overview exhibition, held at the Palais des Beaux Arts in Paris, which celebrated the hundredth anniversary of this particular print medium. Examples of Sargent's experimental lithographs were later donated to the Met, in 1950, by the artist's sister Violet Ormond, and are currently on view in the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery.

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In Honor of Pharaoh's Fighters

Kei Yamamoto, Lila Acheson Wallace Research Associate, Department of Egyptian Art

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2015

Strength, bravery, and tenacity were among the qualities that ancient Egyptians valued in their soldiers, and the exhibition Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom features many intriguing artifacts that these warriors probably used as well as some magnificent artworks depicting the pharaoh's fighters. When looking at the action-packed battle scene in this painted relief (fig. 1), for example, I can almost hear the metallic noise of crashing weapons and the shrieks of the falling enemies shot by the Egyptian archers' arrows. The relief once decorated the mortuary temple of King Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II (ca. 2051–2000), the founder of the Middle Kingdom period (ca. 2030–1650 B.C.).

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Modeling the World: Ancient Architectural Models Now on View

Joanne Pillsbury, Andrall E. Pearson Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Friday, November 6, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum's permanent collection is unusually rich in archaeological architectural effigies—often called models—from around the globe, including works from Middle Bronze Age Syria, Ancient Egypt, and Han Dynasty China. Now, joining these remarkable works under the Met's roof are the fifty Precolumbian models featured in the exhibition Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas, on view through September 18, 2016.

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Showing Signs: Hieroglyphs and Palettes in the Stela of Irtisen

Niv Allon, Assistant Curator, Department of Egyptian Art

Posted: Monday, November 2, 2015

There is something truly exciting about deciphering an ancient handwriting. Recognizing repeating patterns, erasures, and corrections are often as close as modern scholars can get to a sense of the person who once picked up a pen and wrote the text. The quest to uncover such mysteries by looking at hieratic—the cursive script of ancient Egypt, written with pen and ink—often brings up the question of whether a text was penned by one or more people.

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From Archimedes to Zansz: Inventor Souvenir Cards from the Burdick Collection

Allison Rudnick, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Monday, November 2, 2015

The 1880s witnessed an explosion in the production of souvenir cards in the United States. Among the first companies to take advantage of the marketing potential of these collectible cards were tobacco companies such as Allen & Ginter, Duke, and Goodwin, though producers of coffee, chewing gum, and other products also inserted souvenir cards into the packaging of their output.

As printed-ephemera collector Jefferson R. Burdick explained in The American Card Catalogue, published in 1960, collecting souvenir cards became so popular in this decade that tobacco companies issued albums of souvenir cards "intended to replace the individual cards if the smoker so desired, or at least enable him to own the entire collection of designs without the difficulty attendant to obtaining all the individual cards in a set."

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Harley Quinn: A Modern Harlequina

Jane A. Dini, Associate Curator of Paintings and Sculpture, The American Wing

Posted: Friday, October 30, 2015

If you stop by the Met this Halloween, you might happen to see one of our many representations of the character Harlequin (or the female version, Harlequina), a comedic actor in a diamond-patterned costume who derives from the sixteenth-century Italian commedia dell'arte. But if your Halloween plans involve welcoming trick-or-treaters, you're more likely to see Harley Quinn, a modern version of the classic character and a Batman villain in the DC Comics universe—who also happens to be this year's most popular Halloween costume.

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When Mummies Were the Life of the Party

Joanne Pillsbury, Andrall E. Pearson Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015

In the twenty-first century, there is usually a sharp distinction made between the worlds of the dead and the living, with cemeteries now located in park-like settings that are removed from city centers and the daily lives of most. Yet if one reaches further back in time, there is a less pronounced division between the living and the dead, especially in the ancient Americas. The recently opened exhibition Design for Eternity: Architectural Models from the Ancient Americas, on view through September 18, 2016, provides a rare glimpse into relations between the living and the dead, particularly in one remarkable model on loan to the Met from the Museo Huacas de Moche (above).

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The Evolution of Peter Hristoff's My Metropolitan

Peter Hristoff, Artist in Residence, Education Department and Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015

The planning phase of my residency at the Met has given me the opportunity to explore the works on view in greater depth, with a focus on both study and documentation. Since January, I have selected one gallery, curatorial department, or exhibition per visit, with the goal of completing drawings of the objects that interest me. Later, while at work in my studio, I then choose the drawings that I would like to paint. I paint each object on an individual panel, which I then hang, salon-style, on the wall. I am attempting to create My Metropolitan—a monumental work that will be determined ultimately by the length of this residency, to be completed by the end of my tenure here at the Museum.

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Welcome to Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom

Adela Oppenheim, Curator, Department of Egyptian Art

Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015

October 12 marked the opening of Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom—a major exhibition that highlights the art, culture, literature, and religious beliefs of the Middle Kingdom (mid-Dynasty 11–Dynasty 13, around 2030–1650 B.C.). The Middle Kingdom was an era during which the ideas and concepts that formed the basis of ancient Egyptian civilization were dramatically transformed, sparking the creation of amazing works of art that remain compelling, immediate, and often poignant, thousands of years after their creation.

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Baseball Team Cards from the Jefferson R. Burdick Collection

Erin Florence, Collections Management Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A pivotal scene in the 2014 film Million Dollar Arm shows John Hamm's character, sports agent J.B. Bernstein, standing in an office directly in front of a pair of poster-sized photographs of old baseball teams. While the movie follows the factual story of Bernstein and his discovery of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel—young amateur baseball players from India—the photographs suggest another story steeped in the history of the sport, one that channels the careers of equally ambitious men dedicated to the game.

To some viewers these images would have escaped unnoticed, but their familiarity caught my eye as they are part of the Met's Jefferson R. Burdick Collection of Printed Ephemera—specifically series T200, Baseball Teams, published in 1913 by the Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company to promote their Fatima "Turkish blend" cigarettes. Significant in subject matter, history, and medium, these large black-and-white prints shown in the film display the team roster for the Chicago Cubs (above) and the Boston Red Sox (below).

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Poetry in Action at Teens Take the Met

Maya Valladares, Education Assistant, Education Department

Posted: Friday, October 9, 2015

Next Friday, October 16, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., dozens of cultural and community organizations and over two thousand teens will gather at the Met for our third Teens Take the Met event. This teen night, open to any teen ages 13 and up, is an explosion of creativity and fun.

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Playoff Season Is Here! Highlights from the Jefferson R. Burdick Collection

Christopher Gorman, Assistant Administrator, Marketing and External Relations; Chair, Spectrum

Posted: Monday, October 5, 2015

The Major League Baseball playoffs begin tomorrow, and for fans everywhere, there is a lot to be excited about. It's the second season, in a manner of speaking, and the ten teams who made the cut now have their eyes set on championship glory. In just a few weeks the World Series will begin, about the same time as the next exhibition of the Jefferson R. Burdick Collection will go on view here at the Met.

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My Met: Peter Hristoff's Connections with the Museum

Peter Hristoff, Artist in Residence, Education Department and Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2015

As an artist in residence at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was recently asked what the Met means to me and about my relationship to the Museum. My professional relationship with the Met began in 1978, during my junior year at the School of Visual Arts. I say "professional" because that was when I, a young art student, first used the Museum as a resource for images to create new work.

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Following the Historical Thread

Warren T. Woodfin, Kallinikeion Assistant Professor of Art History, Queens College, City University of New York

Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2015

One of the most striking aspects of the silk and metal-thread embroideries on view through November 1, 2015, in Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World is how labor-intensive they are. One might wonder who devoted so much time and eyestrain to creating these pieces, and at whose behest? Although they form a minority within the body of surviving liturgical embroideries, pieces inscribed with the names of the donor or the embroiderer help scholars to answer these questions.

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Ready for a Close-Up: Fernand Khnopff's Hortensia

Alison Hokanson, Assistant Curator, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, September 28, 2015

How does an artist go about composing a view? In the nineteenth century, convention dictated that scenes of everyday life should have a well-defined sense of space and a clear focal point, with figures—the "human interest" aspect of a picture—front and center. However, one of our new acquisitions, Hortensia, by the Belgian artist Fernand Khnopff, tackles the question of composition from a whole new angle.

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Celebrating the Jefferson R. Burdick Collection

Freyda Spira, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2015

Today marks the launch of the new section of the Museum's website dedicated to the vast, diverse, and often surprising ephemera collection of Jefferson R. Burdick (1900–1963). The trade and postcards, which make up the bulk of the collection of over three hundred thousand objects, span in time from the 1890s to the last months of Burdick's life. An avid collector, Burdick dedicated his life to amassing, organizing, and cataloguing his collection. In addition to the acclaimed collection of over thirty thousand baseball cards—the most in a public collection outside of the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York—Burdick's collection includes a dizzying array of trade cards that were produced by tobacco, candy, and gum companies, as well as bakeries, clothing shops, and milliners, to name just a few types of the American businesses that adopted the form as a means of advertising their products.

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Great Traditions—Kongo: Power and Majesty with Alisa LaGamma

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Monday, September 21, 2015

Leaders of the Kingdom of Kongo, a region that today spans the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola forged connections with their European counterparts as early as the fifteenth century. While that relationship with the West began as one of equals, soon after the discovery of the Americas, this region of Central Africa became the epicenter of the Atlantic slave trade. This, followed by European colonization in the nineteenth century and the exploitation of the area's immense natural resources, created great instability and subjected Kongo peoples to devastating hardships. The over 170 works created by Kongo artists and presented in this new publication express the majesty of this society in the face of unparalleled challenges and enormous upheaval. Kongo: Power and Majesty accompanies the eponymous exhibition, on view through January 3, 2016.

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The Body Hidden, the Body Revealed: Neoclassical Drapery Studies

Perrin Stein, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Monday, September 21, 2015

In the late eighteenth century, when the advent of Neoclassicism had many painters turning to subjects inspired by ancient Rome, the ability to render drapery on the human figure became an essential skill, as seen in a group of drapery studies on view in the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery through September 28. Just as it had in antiquity, both the challenge and the appeal of the subject lay in the way the drapery both covered and revealed the human form.

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Celebrating the Living Traditions of the Islamic World: Meet Artist in Residence Peter Hristoff

Jackie Terrassa, Managing Museum Educator for Gallery and Studio Programs, Education

Posted: Friday, September 18, 2015

Last winter, the Education Department and the Department of Islamic Art began to research and plan an extended fifteen-month residency with visual artist Peter Hristoff. Over this time Peter has worked with staff in both departments to co-plan programs that engage a wide variety of Met visitors—from those interested in hearing an artist's views on works in the collection to events that invite participants to create art themselves. Born in Istanbul to a family of Bulgarian artists and strongly influenced by Turkish art, Hristoff is now drawing from his own research of the Met's collection to develop a variety of programs that will connect many different audiences with works of art across the Museum, including those to be featured in the upcoming exhibition The Great Age of the Seljuqs, opening in April 2016.

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The Artist Project: Season 3

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2015

At the Season 2 launch of The Artist Project, I was struck by how many artists came up to me and said how much they loved being a part of this initiative. They enjoyed our academic attitude toward their work, an approach that seemed removed from the more glossy side of the contemporary art world. They are right. We address the work of living artists with the same rigor as an ancient tablet, a Chippendale table, or a Rembrandt. We equally enjoy the artists' approach to our work—their surprising choices and thoughtful discussion of what they see and feel from our collection.

Thomas Struth on Chinese Buddhist sculpture, Vik Muniz on our American art storage, Ann Hamilton on a Bamana marionette: each artist in Season 3 delights us with their exploration of the unexpected. Watch them all and discover a different Met through their extraordinary eyes.

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Porcelain Obsession: Denise Patry Leidy on Her New Book, How to Read Chinese Ceramics

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015

A new publication in the highly popular How to Read series, How to Read Chinese Ceramics, by Denise Patry Leidy, Brooke Russell Astor Curator of Chinese Art and an expert in the field, is perfect for students who want to learn more about this fascinating, centuries-old tradition and is just in time for the start of the school year. This book introduces readers to the principal types of Chinese ceramics and covers the progression and development of the medium, using examples from the Met's comprehensive collection.

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Decorous and Deadly: Weapons of the Royal Hunt in India

Rachel Parikh, Mellon Curatorial Fellow, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Royal Hunt: Courtly Pursuits in Indian Art, on view through December 8, brings together vibrant Mughal and Rajasthani paintings that depict royalty, nobility, and courtiers engaged in the dynamic yet dangerous sport of hunting. In addition to artworks from the Departments of Asian Art and Islamic Art, a group of weapons and hunting accessories loaned by the Department of Arms and Armor are also on display, which provide not only a greater understanding of the royal hunt, but also a rare opportunity to see these objects in person.

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MuSe-ing at the Met: A Summer of Learning and Collaboration

Miriam Gold, Former Undergraduate Intern, Education Department

Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2015

So what is it really like behind the scenes of one of the world's largest art museums?

For three weeks in July, I observed some of the daily routines of the summer MuSe interns here at the Met: forty-one college and graduate students hungry to gain insight into what it's really like to work at an encyclopedic art museum. Each intern is assigned a specific project and supervisor within one of the Met's departments, where he or she carries out the majority of their work. From curatorial and conservation departments to Digital Media and Information Systems & Technology, I was fortunate to be set free in the Met to explore these diverse areas of the Museum and interview the interns (while also being spoiled on a daily basis by an abundance of artistic jewels).

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Unearthing Gold Masterpieces from Venado Beach, Panama

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Friday, August 28, 2015

In 1948, the United States Navy discovered a rich Precolumbian cemetery with a bulldozer in the target shooting area of Fort Kobbe, a former military installation within the Canal Zone of Panama. In early 1951, after "a great deal of unrecorded digging by soldiers," Samuel Lothrop of the Peabody Museum of Harvard University arrived and conducted systematic excavations of over two hundred burials (fig. 2). After the Harvard project ended, "weekend" archaeologists such as Neville and Eva Harte continued work at Venado Beach and dug over 150 cist-like graves. Another such couple was Lt. Col. and Mrs. Lee E. Montgomery, who excavated in August of 1951, documenting nineteen graves, some of which contained multiple individuals.

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Existentialism and Abstraction: Etchings by Lucian Freud and Brice Marden

Jennifer Farrell, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Currently on view in the Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery are works on paper by Lucian Freud and Brice Marden. Although these artists are widely acclaimed for their work in other media, prints play a critical role in their oeuvres. Both artists avidly explored possibilities for printmaking, often developing ideas and innovations that they then applied to work in other media. Their engagement with printmaking—etching in particular—was not only important for the artists, but also had a significant impact on the medium itself by offering up new possibilities.

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A Florentine Masterpiece Brought Back to Life

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, August 17, 2015

What do you do when you have a Renaissance masterpiece in a truly cheap, junky, modern frame? You travel to Florence and have a handcrafted copy made of an original one.

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All American: Summer of Sargent and Bingham

Nora Gorman, College Group at the Met Committee Member

Posted: Monday, August 17, 2015

On Friday, July 31, the College Group at the Met (CGM) invited local college and graduate students to view The American Wing's summer exhibitions and permanent collection during the event All American: Summer of Sargent and Bingham. The evening's programs highlighted Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends and Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River, and uncovered exciting connections between the two exhibitions.

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Caillebotte's Chrysanthemums; or, Unexpected Encounters with Impressionist Interior Design

Jane R. Becker, Collections Management Assistant, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Gustave Caillebotte's Chrysanthemums in the Garden at Petit-Gennevilliers is one of the most exciting recent acquisitions in the Department of European Paintings. Now on view in gallery 824, not only is the painting the Met's first work by the artist, but it encapsulates a fresh approach to still life unseen before its time.

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Grace Under Pressure: Hungarian Goldsmiths and Their Guilds

Melissa Chumsky, Research Assistant, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Monday, August 10, 2015

Munich, June 21, 1868: The premiere of Richard Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg—an opera portraying the well-known and respected guild of the Meistersingers, who entertained German audiences with poetry and song from the fourteenth through the sixteenth century. While it wouldn't be a proper opera without some romance and intrigue thrown in for good measure, it was the complex Renaissance guild system that provided such rich fodder for one of Wagner's only original plotlines. The story highlights an essential tension within the guilds, between artistic spontaneity and strict regulation, and illustrates how this tension was transcended to create incredible art.

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How Was It Made? The Process of Creating Art

Adrienne Spinozzi, Research Associate, The American Wing; and Medill Higgins Harvey, Assistant Curator of American Decorative Arts, The American Wing

Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Have you ever viewed an artwork and wondered how it was made? The Met's collection is full of art that inspires us to ponder its creation, but the Museum rarely reveals the many steps that were taken to create the final work of art.

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Why Vestments? An Introduction to Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World

Warren T. Woodfin, Kallinikeion Assistant Professor of Art History, Queens College, City University of New York

Posted: Monday, August 3, 2015

The exhibition Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World, now on view through November 1, 2015, presents a selection of notable liturgical vestments that communicate the continuing prestige of the Orthodox Church and its clergy in the centuries following the fifteenth-century fall of Byzantine Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. From a strictly theological viewpoint, vestments are hardly a necessity for Christian worship. Liturgical scholars are largely in agreement that for the first several centuries of Christianity's existence, its clergy officiated at services wearing the normal "street dress" of the Roman world. Only gradually did these items of clothing take on special significance as liturgical vestments, to be worn only during worship.

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Erté Is in Town! Designs for Delman's Shoes Now on View

Femke Speelberg, Associate Curator in Ornament and Architectural Prints, Drawings, and Modelbooks, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Almost until the day of his death in 1990 at the advanced age of ninety-seven, Romain de Tirtoff, better known as Erté, was a frequent and much-loved guest of New York City. His visits, which were usually marked by dinners and parties in his honor, were often listed with exclamation marks in the society pages of the New York Times, and an exclusive birthday celebration was hosted by the Circle Gallery in Soho in honor of his ninety-fifth birthday.

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Art and Life in Thomas Hart Benton's America Today, with Randall Griffey

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Missouri native Thomas Hart Benton is often recognized as the leader of Regionalism, the 1930s artistic movement that celebrated rural life in the United States, but few know that New York was his home from 1912 to 1935. In 1930, he received his first major commission for a mural from the New School of Social Research. Called America Today, that mural is the subject of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's latest Bulletin, published to accompany the acquisition of the mural as a gift from AXA in November 2012 and its installation at the Met.

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What's in a Face?

Soyoung Lee, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Portraits can reveal so much about the character of the person depicted, beyond the obvious physical traits. What can you tell about the gentleman in this painting?

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Collaboration on the Museum Mile: A Met-Guggenheim Study of the Work of Alberto Burri

Federica Pozzi, Assistant Conservation Research Scientist, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; and Julie Arslanoglu, Research Scientist, Department of Scientific Research

Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015

What began as a casual conversation between Marco Leona, David H. Koch Scientist in Charge of the Met's Department of Scientific Research, and Carol Stringari, Deputy Director and Chief Conservator of the Guggenheim Foundation, has grown over the past ten months into an unprecedented collaboration aiming to advance the role of science within curatorial and conservation-based scholarship at both institutions. The partnership—described in detail on the Guggenheim's blog—has established a framework for scientific research within the Guggenheim conservation studio by creating a position for the first scientist on staff and granting access to the Met's fully equipped chemical laboratories and advanced analytical instrumentation. Conservators and scientists from the two museums are currently sharing resources, identifying projects of mutual interest, and jointly studying objects in their respective collections.

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Elegant and Exact: George Stubbs's
The Anatomy of the Horse

Carol Santoleri, Research Assistant, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015

British painter George Stubbs (1724–1806) created masterpieces of animal portraiture by combining anatomical exactitude with expressive details. One such portrait, Lustre, Held by a Groom, ca. 1762, is now on view in gallery 629 as part of the exhibition Paintings by George Stubbs from the Yale Center for British Art.

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Spectrum Spotlight—China: Through the Looking Glass

Christopher Gorman, Assistant Administrator, Marketing and External Relations; Chair, Spectrum

Posted: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Andrew Bolton, curator in The Costume Institute, recently spoke with me about the special exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, extended through September 7.

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Grasping the Foot of Lightning in a Maya Scepter Fragment

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2015

Ancient Maya kings and queens were masters of political pageantry. Rulers and nobles engaged in ritual celebrations while wearing elaborate costumes and regalia that incorporated images of both ancestors and deities. One of the most important classes of objects shown in royal portraits and found in royal burials is that of the scepter, a handheld staff often made of stone. The Metropolitan Museum's collection contains a fragment of one such object made of greenstone (fig. 1).

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New Arrivals in the European Paintings Galleries

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2015

When was the last time you walked through the Metropolitan's European Paintings galleries? If it was more than a year ago, you've missed some major additions and changes.

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Mastery of Imagination—Sultans of Deccan India with Navina Najat Haidar

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Deccan Plateau of south-central India was a nexus of international trade and home to a series of important, highly cultured Muslim kingdoms. With cultural connections to Iran, Turkey, eastern Africa, and Europe, Deccani art is particularly celebrated for its unmistakable, otherworldly character. This beautifully illustrated catalogue discusses two hundred of the finest Deccan works and includes extraordinary new photographs of the lush landscapes of the Deccan lands.

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A Reunion after Sixty Years: The Lin Yutang Family Collection

Shi-yee Liu, Assistant Research Curator of Chinese Art, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, June 26, 2015

The Metropolitan Museum's collection of Chinese painting and calligraphy, one of the finest outside China in both quality and scope, is largely built upon the acquisition of a few private collections. The nearly three hundred works that entered the Museum from the collections of C. C. Wang (1907–2003), the Edward Elliot Family, and John M. Crawford, Jr. (1913–88) in the 1970s and 1980s include several of the most important extant Song (960–1279) and Yuan (1271–1368) pieces today. Spanning the period from the eleventh to the nineteenth century, these works form the core of the department's painting and calligraphy collection from dynastic China.

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The Artist Project: Season 2

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Monday, June 22, 2015

Step aside, Game of Thrones; Season 2 of The Artist Project is the most anticipated follow-up of the year. With twenty new artists talking about how The Met is the place where they always find inspiration and make new discoveries, there is no better watching. Tune in and feel free to binge watch.

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Vernal Splendor: Kano Sansetsu's Old Plum

Aaron Rio, Jane and Morgan Whitney Fellow, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2015

In Kano Sansetsu's Old Plum—currently on view in the exhibition Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and the Met—a wizened plum tree stirs in the cold of early spring. At lower right, its buckled trunk rises near pillar-like rocks and a thicket of bamboo grass (sasayabu) before stretching to the left, heaving and gyrating its way across a sixteen-foot expanse of gold foil. Green lichen clings to its knotty trunk and icy white blossoms open on its fragile twigs, frozen stiff against the gold.

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The Jabach Portrait: An Extraordinary Acquisition

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, June 11, 2015

I often remind people that when the Met was founded in 1870, it did not own a single work of art. The collection that we know and love today is the collective achievement of many collectors and donors—private citizens determined to share their passion for art with the public. The giant names—J.P. Morgan, Louisine and H.O. Havemeyer, Benjamin Altman, Robert Lehman, Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, Walter Annenberg, and most recently Leonard Lauder—join hundreds of others who were, and are, profoundly generous in supporting the development of our collection.

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Installing Sacred Traditions of the Himalayas: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

Kurt Behrendt, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art ; Kristine Kamiya, Associate Conservator, Department of Textile Conservation; and Matthew Cumbie, Conservation Preparator, Department of Objects Conservation

Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015

During the earliest stages of conceptualizing the Sacred Traditions of the Himalayas exhibition, on view through June 14, I went through the Metropolitan Museum's holdings and came across a stunning body of jewelry that came to the collection in 1915. As the Department of Asian Art is celebrating its centennial this year, I was excited to have the opportunity to present the very first Himalayan works to come into our collection—the first of many works acquired beginning exactly one hundred years ago.

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Now on View: A Portrait Bust of Emperor Domitian

Christopher S. Lightfoot, Curator, Department of Greek and Roman Art

Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015

In June, the Department of Greek and Roman Art's fine bronze portrait bust of an aristocratic Roman boy goes on display in The Toledo Museum of Art in Toledo, Ohio. The sculpture, originally affixed to a herm of wood or stone, was made by a gifted craftsman who endowed it with great presence. The boy's identity is unknown since no inscription is preserved, but the high quality of the sculpture has often led to the suggestion that he represents the emperor Nero as a child. Since Nero was already thirteen years old in a.d. 50—when he was adopted by his great uncle and stepfather, the emperor Claudius—it seems unlikely that he is, in fact, the person portrayed here. Nevertheless, the style of the bust is very much in keeping with late Julio-Claudian portraiture.

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The Decoration of Men's Fashion in Eighteenth-Century France

Kirstin Purtich, Former Intern, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

In the eighteenth century, promenading among the shops along the rue St. Honoré became a fashionable leisure activity for men and women alike. This street was home to Paris's marchands merciers (known as "mercers" in English), a class of merchants who dealt in all manner of luxury goods, including textiles for furnishing and clothing. The mercers' exclusive right to finishing work—arranging for the addition of embroidery, buttons, braids, and sequins through a network of specialized workers—allowed their customers to choose the exact colors and patterns they wanted at the point of sale. The range of embroidery samples currently displayed in the exhibition Elaborate Embroidery: Fabrics for Menswear before 1815, on view through July 19, offers a small window into the level of decoration and customization possible for fashionable men of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

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The Shapes of Things, or, How the Ding Met the Tureen

Denise Patry Leidy, Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015

This spring, the subject of cultural exchange between China and the West has been a hot topic thanks to the exhibition China: Through the Looking Glass, a collaboration between The Costume Institute and the Department of Asian Art. Yet fashion is by no means the only arena in which Western artists have been inspired by Chinese objects. For instance, bronze ritual vessels known as ding (figs. 1 and 2), which emerged during China's Bronze Age (ca. 1600–221 B.C.), have long inspired objects ranging from Korean chaekgori screens to Viennese bowls.

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Worth Their Weight: Hungarian Silver from the Salgo Collection

Melissa Chumsky, Research Assistant, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015

It is not difficult to appreciate the allure of the silver objects now on display in the exhibition Hungarian Treasure: Silver from the Nicolas M. Salgo Collection, on view through October 25. The patrons who originally commissioned them between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries surely appreciated the way that they glittered in the light and how they demanded to be admired in all of their sumptuous glory, but there may have been another glint in the eye of their beholders: that of their wealth reflected back to them by these utilitarian objects. Their aesthetic value was only paralleled by their monetary value; after all, these objects are literally made of money, fashioned by talented goldsmiths from silver ore.

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"The Blood Was Pooled, the Skulls Were Piled": Maya Star Wars and a Misconstrued Doomsday

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015

A fragment of the bas relief known as Tortuguero Monument 6, now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum, forms part of one of the most infamous and contentious hieroglyphic texts in the Classic Maya (ca. a.d. 250–900) corpus. For many years epigraphers and lay enthusiasts honed in on the final passage of the text as a "prophecy," a tale of what would have happened on the date 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahaw 3 K'ank'in in the Maya calendar. This corresponded to a day in December 2012, leading to spurious and sensational claims about an end of days predicted by the ancient Maya. The Met's fragment contains a pivotal portion of the text (fig. 1).

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The Ashcan School, The Eight, and the New York Art World

Sylvia Yount, Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge, The American Wing

Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2015

There's something new to see in gallery 772: a more expansive look at the work of the early-twentieth-century urban realists known as the Ashcan School. Robert Henri, William Glackens, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan explored many dimensions of modern life in paintings, drawings, and prints, and now—for the first time in The American Wing—you can see their work across various media in one gallery.

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Hidden Secrets of Ancient Egyptian Technology

Anna Serotta, Independent Conservator; and Federico Carò, Associate Research Scientist, Department of Scientific Research

Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015

Archaeological objects and works of art in museum collections are not only treasured for their aesthetic qualities, but are also repositories of invaluable information, often concealed at a first sight, about the civilizations that created them. Among the many beautiful pieces in the collection of the Met's Department of Egyptian Art, it is interesting to note one modest stone fragment (fig.1), the scientific investigation of which has provided a clue that could solve a long-time debate among Egyptologists and historians of technologies: the use of high-performance abrasives.

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The Jabachs Are in the House!

Stephan Wolohojian, Curator, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2015

At long last, after ten months of conservation work, Charles Le Brun's arresting portrait of Everhard Jabach and his family is now on view in the galleries.

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Me, My Selfie, and I: A Day at the Met with Telly Leung

Telly Leung, Guest Blogger

Posted: Friday, May 15, 2015

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage month, and my dear friends at the Met have asked me to be one of the many performers taking part in their upcoming Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Celebration on Friday, May 22.

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George Stubbs and the Art of the Thoroughbred

Carol Santoleri, Research Assistant, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The early patrons of British painter George Stubbs (1724–1806) were enthusiasts of the hunt or the racecourse who sought flattering portraits, not just pictures, of the thoroughbred horses they owned. One such portrait, Turf, with Jockey up, at Newmarket, is now on view in gallery 629 as part of the exhibition Paintings by George Stubbs from the Yale Center for British Art.

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Conserving the Saint Martin Series: Technical Analysis of Fifteenth-Century Embroideries

Giulia Chiostrini, Assistant Conservator, Department of Textile Conservation

Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015

Seven embroideries, six roundels, and one arch panel depicting scenes from the life of Saint Martin are now on view in the exhibition Scenes from the Life of St. Martin: Franco-Flemish Embroidery from the Met Collection. These fifteenth-century textiles were embroidered with dyed silk, silver, and gilt–silver metal threads on a linen plain weave underlaid with two layers of linen plain weave (fig. 1).

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The Conservation of the Jabach Portrait: Almost There!

Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Department of Paintings Conservation

Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015

The second and final phase of the retouching of the Jabach portrait—which has been undergoing conservation since July 2014—is virtually finished. This step brings the losses that had previously only been underpainted up to a full match with the surrounding original. Also, areas where the paint layer has been abraded in the past can be corrected.

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Explore the World with Senses of Springtime: Celebrate India!

Mary Ann Bonet, Coordinator of Family, Teen, and Multigenerational Learning

Posted: Friday, May 8, 2015

One of the things I love most about the Met is that our diverse collection allows us to take a journey around the world without ever leaving the building. I am particularly excited about our next festival on May 17, Senses of Springtime: Celebrate India!, which will give visitors the opportunity to explore a part of the world that I have always wanted to visit—India and Southeast Asia.

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A Jewelry Designer's Tour of the Met

Debbie Kuo, Administrator, Department of Greek and Roman Art

Posted: Friday, May 8, 2015

The Met's collection is a world of inspiration for artists. As an administrator in the Department of Greek and Roman Art and a jewelry designer, I often stop in the galleries on my way to a meeting or sketch during my lunch break, and I am constantly looking to past centuries for new ideas.

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Crossing Cultures—Platon for China: Through the Looking Glass

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2015

Best known for his compelling portraits of world leaders, Platon spent several months photographing couture garments from designers such as Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, and Yves Saint Laurent, as well as traditional Chinese costume and decorative art objects. I spoke with him about the book, his work, and the importance of artists as cultural mediators.

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Restoring Bhairava's Ear

Pascale Patris, Conservator, Department of Objects Conservation

Posted: Tuesday, May 5, 2015

In 2012, this imposing Bhairava's mask came to the Museum as a part of an important donation from The Zimmerman Family Collection, and it is now on display in the newly renovated gallery 252. The sixteenth-century gilt and polychrome copper mask of Bhairava from Nepal had a significant loss to its appearance—its right ear was missing, and its attribute, a large copper pendant earring for the left ear, had been used as a substitute.

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Discussing the Rise of French Art Deco with Author Jared Goss

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In April 1925, the Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes introduced French Art Deco to the public at large. Ninety years later, French Art Deco, one of the only books in English focused on this subject, provides a detailed account of this important movement, encapsulating the complex modern sensibilities of the early twentieth century through a selection of objects from the Met's impressive collection. I spoke with Jared Goss, author of the catalogue, about French Art Deco and the effects of the Industrial Revolution on artistic attitudes and production in twentieth-century France.

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Olmec Babies as Early Portraiture in the Americas

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Friday, April 17, 2015

One of the stars of gallery 358 and the recent exhibition The Nelson A. Rockefeller Vision: In Pursuit of the Best in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas is a seated figure of a chubby baby in the Olmec style from Central Mexico (fig. 1). As the Rockefeller exhibit pointed out, this is among one of the most celebrated Olmec ceramic works known to scholars, and was even selected as the cover model for the Museum of Primitive Art's landmark show on Preclassic Mesoamerica in 1965.

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The "Cutting Edge" of Fashion: Designs for the Decoration of Arms and Armor on Paper

Sasha Rossman, Visiting Research Scholar, Department of Drawings and Prints; and Femke Speelberg, Associate Curator in Ornament and Architectural Prints, Drawings, and Modelbooks, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2015

In his 1583 book The Anatomie of Abuses, the English moralist Phillip Stubbes criticized the growing trend for wearing arms as a stylish accessory, condemning upstart fops who sported "swoords, daggers and rapiers guilte and reguilte, burnished, and costly engraven, with all things els that any noble of honorable, or worshipfull man doth, or may weare so as one cannot easily be discerned from the other." Stubbes's main concern lay in the fact that men of all classes gave in to the whims of fashion and started wearing decorated arms daily as pieces of jewelry, giving way to vanity and pride and simultaneously blurring the lines of social standing.

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Spectrum Spotlight: Fatal Attraction

Christopher Gorman, Assistant Administrator, Marketing and External Relations; Chair, Spectrum

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Douglas Eklund, curator in the Met's Department of Photographs, recently spoke with me about the special exhibition Fatal Attraction: Piotr Uklański Photographs, on view through August 16.​

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Asian Art Centennial: One Hundred Years of Tibetan Art at the Met

Kurt Behrendt, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Tuesday, April 14, 2015

In 1915, the president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert de Forest, turned his attention to Asia and acquired a large group of Nepalese and Tibetan gem-studded objects. Among them was this dazzling ornament for the forehead of a sculpture. It presents the four directional Buddhas in diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, as well as auspicious materials such as red coral and turquoise. At the center, the cosmic axis of the universe, is a vajra featuring a large diamond surrounded by lapis lazuli—a clear reference to Vajrayana Buddhism as the diamond path.

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The Jabach Portrait: Reflections on an Extraordinary Acquisition

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Michael Gallagher has been taking readers of this blog series step by step through his conservation work on the remarkable Jabach portrait. So I thought this might be the moment—in the few weeks remaining until its installation in the galleries—to reflect on how we came to acquire this extraordinary picture.

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Where the Vast Sky Meets the Flat Earth: Framing Plains Indians

Daniel Kershaw, Exhibition Design Manager, Design

Posted: Monday, March 30, 2015

When I began thinking about the installation plan for the exhibition Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky almost two years ago, I started organizing the artworks and contemplating the layout of the scheduled gallery. The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall (gallery 999) is usually divided into rooms, or a sequence of manageable spaces, but somehow this seemed inappropriate for an exhibition focused on art devoted to, and deeply reflective of, its overwhelming natural environment. Almost none of the objects, with the exception of modern and contemporary works, needed to be mounted to a wall, so that left most of the walls of the Met's second-largest special exhibition gallery available.

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A New Web Series: The Artist Project

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015

We have spoken a lot lately about The Met's interest in looking at contemporary art through the lens of our historical collection. We have just launched a new project that gives you a glimpse of just what we mean when we talk about that kind of connected view of contemporary art.

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Intern Spotlight: Ibrahim Mohamed Ali's Work in Photograph Conservation

Nora Kennedy, Sherman Fairchild Conservator, Department of Photograph Conservation

Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ibrahim Mohamed Ali joined the Metropolitan Museum's paid summer intern program from his position as a conservator at the Grand Egyptian Museum via the George Washington University Museum Studies Program, where he is working toward his master's degree. With a background in the conservation and preservation of metal archaeological artifacts but with an immense passion for everything photographic, Ibrahim delved into all aspects of photograph conservation during his nine weeks at the Met this past summer.

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Sacrifice, Fealty, and a Sculptor's Signature on a Maya Relief

James Doyle, Assistant Curator, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2015

One of the Maya masterworks at The Metropolitan Museum of Art is an eighth-century relief with enthroned ruler, likely a fragment of the carved lintel of a doorway from the site of La Pasadita in northwestern Guatemala (fig. 1). La Pasadita was visited in the 1970s by renowned explorer and monument recorder Ian Graham, but subsequently became dangerous for scholarly visits because of border conflicts during the country's decades-long civil conflict. Land mines and security problems prevented archaeological work until 1998, when Charles Golden and colleagues performed reconnaissance in the area. Even today, the site lies within a troubled zone suffering the effects of narcotrafficking and illegal settlements within the national parks in the Usumacinta River drainage.

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Celebrating Nauruz with The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp

Rachel High, Publishing and Marketing Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp is a tenth-century epic by the Persian poet Firdausi, chronicling Iran's mythical history before the founding of Islam. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's publication is a facsimile of the most lavishly illustrated version of the text, produced for the Safavid Shah Tahmasp, who ruled Iran from 1524 to 1576.

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Now on View: Drawings by Bill Traylor, Pioneer of Outsider Art, in The American Wing

Sylvia Yount, Lawrence A. Fleischman Curator in Charge, The American Wing

Posted: Friday, March 13, 2015

"[Traylor] was beautiful to see—so right with himself and at peace—as the rich imagery of his long life welled up into his drawings and paintings."

—Charles Shannon, 1985

A few weeks ago in gallery 749—where we've been featuring a range of nineteenth-century American folk art—we installed eight drawings from the late 1930s by the acclaimed pioneer of so-called outsider art, Bill Traylor (1853/54–1949). This is the first time in twenty years that these works have been seen at the Met—and the very first in The American Wing.

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Now at the Met

Evoking the Divine: Mental Purification Using a Tibetan Tsakali Mandala

Kurt Behrendt, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Friday, March 13, 2015

Tsakali cards were used by a practitioner, usually a monk or nun, under the guidance of a teacher to evoke a Buddhist deity. As these teachers traveled from one monastery to the next, using sets of portable tsakali cards was an efficient way of presenting the vast pantheon of Buddhist gods.

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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.