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A Pensive Treasure

Denise Patry Leidy, Curator, Department of Asian Art; and Soyoung Lee, Associate Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Monday, December 2, 2013

Last shown in the U.S. in 1981—and now on view in Silla: Korea's Golden Kingdom—this breathtaking gilt-bronze sculpture of a bodhisattva may never be seen in New York again.

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A Neighborhood of Castles in the Sky:
Washington Heights before The Cloisters

Danielle Oteri, Lecturer, The Cloisters museum and gardens; Program Director, International Center of Medieval Art; Curator, Feast on History

Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013

Washington Heights—the neighborhood in northern Manhattan that houses The Cloisters museum and gardens—is built upon a series of bluffs and cliffs. Concrete staircases and creaky subway elevators connect different sections of the neighborhood, and buildings stand tall on stilts driven deep into Manhattan schist. From a distance, blocks of apartment buildings appear like castellated European villages. However, despite its once-impenetrable terrain, or maybe because of it, Washington Heights is a place where some of the wildest and most romantic medieval-architecture fantasies in New York City have been realized for over 150 years.

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Featured Catalogue—Interview with the Curator: Mike Hearn

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Mike Hearn—the Met's Douglas Dillon Curator in Charge of the Department of Asian Art—about his work in authoring the catalogue accompanying the upcoming exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, his inspiration for incorporating modern works into his department, and the role of the Chinese artist in today's art world.

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Artists on Artworks Celebrates One Year at the Met

Molly Kysar, Former Assistant Museum Educator for Gallery Programs, Education

Posted: Monday, October 21, 2013

On Friday, September 20, the fall season of Artists on Artworks began as visitors gathered in the Vélez Blanco Patio to meet artist Lisa Corinne Davis, who led a tour of the galleries and an hour-long discussion of a few paintings that she had personally selected. During the tour, Davis shared her perspective as a painter, talking about the choices that artists make as they are creating a new work—including what they choose to include and not include in terms of both subject and composition.

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This Weekend in Met History: October 20

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013

One hundred years ago this weekend, on October 20, 1913, Robert W. de Forest was unanimously elected the fifth president of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. De Forest had been involved with the Museum since its inception in 1870 and had served on its Board of Trustees since 1889, first as a Trustee and later as its secretary and vice president.

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Experiencing The Forty Part Motet

Andrew Winslow, Senior Departmental Technician, The Cloisters museum and gardens

Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Janet Cardiff's The Forty Part Motet, currently on view through December 8, boasts the distinction of being the first exhibition of contemporary art in the seventy-five-year history of The Cloisters museum and gardens. A sound installation consisting of forty speakers mounted on tall stands and arranged in a large oval, Cardiff's work seems to have found its ideal home in the Fuentidueña Chapel—dominated by the monumental twelfth-century apse brought to The Cloisters from the church of San Martín in Fuentidueña, Spain.

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Introducing Alarm Will Sound

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This year's Artist in Residence program brings Alarm Will Sound, one of the most creative ensembles working today, to the Met. Just beyond the cutting edge of music, dance, and theater, this hugely respected and highly accomplished group of performer-composers turns its collective imagination for one year to the Met's permanent collection and galleries.

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Breakthrough on 82nd & Fifth

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013

We just posted my episode, entitled Breakthrough, as part of 82nd & Fifth, the award-winning web series that has introduced our audience and our curators to a whole new way of looking at works of art: one object, one curator, two minutes at a time. I chose one of my favorite masterpieces—a Bernard van Orley tapestry of The Last Supper from 1524—and was amazed by the stunning details that Met photographer Peter Zeray was able to capture. This is the 75th of this 100-episode project, and I hope you take some time to enjoy them all.

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The Grand Tour

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Wednesday, October 2, 2013

In celebration of the New European Paintings Galleries, 1250–1800, the Museum hosted two special evenings of concerts on September 17 and 18. Music and art came together to illuminate the time period represented by the galleries, creating a resonant cultural experience.

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Syrian Art at the Met

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The situation in Syria is both grave and deeply troubling. In the midst of such striking human suffering, all other concerns can easily get lost in the shadows. But we must believe that there will be a time when peace returns to Syria, and when that moment arrives, it would be tragic to find that most of the country's heritage had been lost.

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Fifty Years of the Met's Bulletin Now Available at MetPublications

Gwen Roginsky, Associate Publisher and General Manager, Editorial Department

Posted: Monday, September 23, 2013

MetPublications is a portal to the Museum's comprehensive book and online publishing program from 1964 to the present, offering free content and information from an encyclopedic collection of publications—including exhibition catalogues, collection catalogues, Museum guides, and educational materials. And now, with the addition of two hundred thirty-five issues of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin spanning the past fifty years, MetPublications currently boasts close to nine hundred titles.

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#AskaCurator Day on Twitter

Taylor Newby, Social Media Manager, Digital Media

Posted: Monday, September 16, 2013

Associate Curator Ian Alteveer will answer your questions on September 18 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDT.

On Wednesday, September 18, join us on Twitter for Ask a Curator Day with Department of Modern and Contemporary Art Associate Curator Ian Alteveer. Ian will answer your questions about his job, the collection, and exhibitions during this live Twitter Q&A.

Tweet your questions to @metmuseum on September 18 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. EDT using the hashtag #AskaCurator. You may also tweet your questions in advance. Ian is the curator of the current exhibitions The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi, The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi's Miniature Paintings, and In Praise of Shadows: William Kentridge in the Collection.

See a list of museums participating in Ask a Curator Day and learn more in this Guardian article. Follow the #AskaCurator hashtag and @metmuseum on Twitter to view the Q&A. You do not need to have a Twitter account to follow the questions and answers.

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Presenting TEDxMet: ICONS

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Earlier this year, the Met became the first art museum to ever receive a TEDx license to hold a conference in the style of the globally known TED Talks. We chose the (broadly interpreted) theme of Icons and started to plan right away...

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Looking to Connect with European Paintings: Visual Approaches for Teaching

Elizabeth Perkins, 2012–2013 Samuel H. Kress Interpretive Fellow

Posted: Friday, September 6, 2013

As an art historian, my goal is to offer information and insight. As a teacher, I hope to encourage people to discuss, discover, and explore. Where is the balance between these things in museum teaching and interpretation? When and how is information meaningful? How do we help visitors look closely and relate to what they see? These are some of the questions that guided me during my Kress Interpretive Fellowship at the Met this past year. My main project was a thematic, digital publication focusing on teaching adults in the European Paintings collection. The exciting final result is Looking to Connect with European Paintings: Visual Approaches for Teaching in the Galleries—it has just been released and is available as a free download (PDF) within MetPublications.

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Medieval Drama at The Cloisters

Nancy Wu, Museum Educator, The Cloisters museum and gardens

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013

Although theatrical plays had been presented at the original Cloisters museum at 699 Fort Washington Avenue until its closing in February 1936, it was not until the performance of The Miracle of Theophilus at The Cloisters' current home in January 1942 that a medieval drama was produced for the first time. Envisioned and organized by the curatorial staff, with a text translated from the original French into English by Curator James Rorimer—later director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art—and costumes designed by Associate Curator Margaret Freeman, the thirteenth-century play was enjoyed by a group of Museum members on the Feast of the Epiphany. Thus began a tradition of medieval theatrical performances at The Cloisters.

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"Round Table Capers": Medieval Festivals in the 1950s

Emma Wegner, Assistant Museum Educator, The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013

From 1951 to 1957, The Cloisters hosted annual festivals for children of Members. Each of the seven festivals—held in the courtyard and given vibrantly titled themes such as "Round Table Capers" (1954) and "When Knights were Bold" (1955)—was an extravagant affair organized by the staff of the Met's Junior Museum, the precursor to what is now the Education Department. Children enjoyed puppet shows, games, donkey rides, and even trained bears.

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Ideas of Empire: The "Royal Garden" at Pasargadae

Fiona Kidd, Assistant Curator, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art

Posted: Monday, July 29, 2013

I am Cyrus, king of the universe, the great king, the powerful king, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of the four quarters of the world.

—The Cyrus Cylinder (Line 20)

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The Met's New Global Museum Leaders Colloquium

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013

Today we announced a new program aimed at connecting more directly with the global museum community. The Met has been an international institution since its founding; it was established in 1870 not as a museum of American art but as an encyclopedic collection—with the goal of including works of art from around the world. Since then we've collaborated with nations and institutions across the globe, through exhibitions, excavations, training, and all types of scholarly exchange.

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Fun Facts: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Museum's new Guide highlights special works from each of our seventeen curatorial departments. Coming in at four hundred fifty-six pages and featuring almost six hundred works of art, it is the first new Guide to be published about the Museum in twenty-nine years. While reviewing the new publication, I discovered a few fun facts about the works of art from around the globe and across the centuries featured in its pages.

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The Cloisters in Popular Culture:
"Time in This Place Does Not Obey an Order"

Michael Carter, Librarian, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens

Posted: Monday, July 22, 2013

For the past seventy-five years, The Cloisters has provided visitors with more than just a chance to view an exceptional collection of medieval art and architecture. In tourist guides and travel reviews, a trip to The Cloisters is commonly described as a way to be transported to the Middle Ages or—for locals seeking a "staycation"—a chance to get out of New York without leaving the city. The powerful effect of the place has clearly been noticed by screenwriters, novelists, and even comicbook authors, who have set a fair number of fictional works here over the years.

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Cyrus and the Judean Diaspora

Ira Spar, Research Assyriologist, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013

Toward the end of the first century a.d. Jerusalem lay in ruins, the second temple built by Herod the Great (74/73–4 b.c.) destroyed and ransacked by the Roman army. Meanwhile, in Babylon, scribes continued to copy ancient texts, inscribing some of them on cuneiform tablets made of clay. After the last cuneiform scribe passed to his fate, no one remained who could read or write documents in Babylonian, Assyrian, or Sumerian. In 1893, pioneer archaeologists and explorers digging in Iraq began to uncover vast archives of cuneiform tablets that had been buried for two thousand years. Today, philologists, archaeologists, and historians are able to combine narratives previously known only from the Bible with information gleaned from thousands of historic, literary, religious, and scientific texts, illuminating the world of Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, and Cyrus. The Cyrus Cylinder, now on view at the Met, helps us understand the peoples and policies of the ancient Near East.

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Travel with the Met: Russian Impressions

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I'm back in New York, and I've had a chance to reflect on my first Travel with the Met experience. The trip was truly unforgettable, thanks in part to the hospitality and humor of our Russian hosts and the stoic pride they take in their country.

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Living in Style: Five Centuries of Interior Design from the Collection of Drawings and Prints

Femke Speelberg, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013

Now on view (through September 8), the exhibition Living in Style brings together drawings, prints, books, and pieces of furniture from the Museum's collections to illustrate five centuries of interior design, from the Renaissance period through the 1960s. Following a chronological path of development, the show traces changes and continuities in the approach to materials, shapes, colors, and decorations as displayed by the works on paper.

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Renovating The Cloisters: Maintaining the Vision

Peter Barnet, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013

"Creating the Cloisters," the spring issue of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin written by curator Timothy B. Husband, is an engaging and nuanced narrative of the early history of The Cloisters. As a complement to that narrative, I'd like to review the more recent gallery renovations and reinstallations that have been undertaken, all guided by the principle of maintaining the integrity of the original architectural vision of The Cloisters.

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Travel with the Met: Wooden Architecture and Mysticism on Kizhi Island

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our local guide explained that the first settlers to the Kizhi Island area in the sixteenth century practiced two religions simultaneously: Russian Orthodox Christianity and pre-Christian pagan mysticism.

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New Labels for European Paintings Galleries

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

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

As part of the installation of the New European Paintings Galleries last month, all of the wall labels were rewritten to reflect recent research. Each time I walked into the Rembrandt gallery (Gallery 637) during the installation, I wondered if I was seeing an art project or merely temporary storage for our new label holders.

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Travel with the Met: Yaroslavl

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Here the Volga River meets the Kotorosl River as seen from the bluffs of Yaroslavl, a picturesque city with a population of 640,000. Decorative plantings in the shape of a bear, the city's emblem, commemorate the 1,003rd anniversary of Yaroslav.

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The Later Legacy of Cyrus the Great

Michael Seymour, Research Associate, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013

The Cyrus Cylinder, currently on display in the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: Charting a New Empire (June 20–August 4, 2013), is a document of unique historical significance. It records the Persian king Cyrus' conquest of the city of Babylon in 539 b.c., and his proclamation that cults and temples should be restored, their personnel allowed to return from Babylon to their home cities.

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Sublime Embrace:
Concerts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013

Ninety-five years ago the halls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art resounded with the sounds of music, as the first public concert was held within the Museum's galleries.

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Travel with the Met: Backstage at the Bolshoi

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013

In 1776, while America was starting a revolution, the Russians were building the Bolshoi Theater.

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The Boxer: An Ancient Masterpiece Comes to the Met

Seán Hemingway, Curator, Department of Greek and Roman Art

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013

Since its discovery on the Quirinal Hill of Rome in 1885 near the ancient Baths of Constantine, the statue Boxer at Rest—currently on view at the Met—has astonished and delighted visitors to the Museo Nazionale Romano as a captivating masterpiece of ancient bronze sculpture.

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Travel with the Met: Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm currently traveling as a Museum representative on a Travel with the Met cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg. One of our first stops in Moscow was Saint Basil's Cathedral. Legend has it that Ivan the Terrible ensured that nothing quite like it could be built again . . . by taking out the eyes of the chief architect.

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Gothic Altarpiece

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

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013

Before you can put a Gothic altarpiece together, you first have to know how to take it apart. This is Giovanni di Paolo's polyptych from a church in Cortona, Italy, painted in 1454, en route to its permanent installation in Gallery 626 within the New European Paintings Galleries.

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Digitizing the Libraries' Collections: Pictorialist Photography Exhibition Catalogues, 1891–1914

Dan Lipcan, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Malcolm Daniel, Senior Curator, Department of Photographs

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013

One of the first projects we undertook upon establishing the Thomas J. Watson Library's digitization initiative a few years ago was a collaboration with the Department of Photographs and its Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library.

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Featured Publication: German Paintings
in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1350–1600

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department; and Hilary Becker, Administrative Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Just in time to celebrate the opening of the New European Paintings Galleries, Curator Maryan Ainsworth has coauthored a comprehensive guide to the Met's German paintings. The collection, which includes pictures made in the German-speaking lands (including Austria and Switzerland) from 1350 to 1600, constitutes the largest and most comprehensive group in an American museum today. Comprising major examples by the towering figures of the German Renaissance—Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Hans Holbein the Younger—and many by lesser masters, the collection has grown slowly but steadily from the first major acquisitions in 1871 to the most recent in 2011; it now numbers seventy-two works, presented here in sixty-three entries.

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Installing Tiepolo

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

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013

How many people does it take to hang a ceiling? How many rigs? This snapshot shows The Glorification of the Barbaro Family, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's great ceiling from Ca' Barbaro, Venice, going up in Gallery 600 during the last week of installation of the New European Paintings Galleries.

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Final Touches

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

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The last work installed for the New European Paintings Galleries the afternoon before the opening was the famous birth salver created in 1449 for Lorenzo de' Medici (known to later generations simply as Lorenzo the Magnificent). It's in Gallery 604. To make the final meticulous retouching of the mount, the installer, Warren Bennett, had to insert his head into the case, beneath the birth tray. I was struck by the very Neapolitan baroque quality of the image of his head—as though detached, John-the-Baptist fashion, by the "blade" of the salver! I couldn't help but snap a picture. Just look at the spot of light on the cranium: pure Mattia Preti!

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Celebrating The Cloisters

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013

The Cloisters marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. Since its opening on May 14, 1938, it has become a treasured landmark, celebrated for both its extraordinary setting and its world-class collection of medieval art and architecture. Located in Fort Tryon Park, a verdant oasis on the northern tip of Manhattan, the building commands sweeping views of the Hudson River and the towering Palisades on the river's opposite bank. The quiet of the lush gardens and the magnificence of the historic architecture create an ideal setting for the outstanding collection within.

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Featured Publication:
Photography and the American Civil War

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department; and Hilary Becker, Administrative Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Photography was invented just twenty years before the American Civil War. In many ways the war—its documentation, its soldiers, its battlefields—was the arena of the camera's debut in America. "The medium of photography was very young at the time the war began but it quickly emerged into the medium it is today," says Jeff Rosenheim, curator of the current exhibition Photography and the American Civil War (on view through September 2), and author of its accompanying catalogue. "I think that we are where we are in photographic history, in cultural history, because of what happened during the Civil War . . . it's the crucible of American history. The war changed the idea of what individual freedom meant; we abolished slavery, we unified our country, we did all those things, but with some really interesting new tools, one of which was photography."

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A Monumental Gift to the Met

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Yesterday was an exciting and historic moment for the Met, as we announced the gift of Leonard Lauder's unrivaled collection of seventy-eight Cubist paintings to the Museum. This is among the greatest contributions to the Metropolitan in the course of its 143-year evolution, in the same league as gifts from J.P. Morgan, Louisine and H.O. Havemeyer, Benjamin Altman, Robert Lehman, Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, and Walter Annenberg—truly transformative collections that have come to the Met.

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An Important Message from the Director

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013

In recent weeks, you may have read about a lawsuit filed by one of the Metropolitan Museum's Fifth Avenue neighbors. It inaccurately alleges that the Met deceives the public by not making its long-standing pay-what-you-wish admission policy clear enough, and asserts that we are violating a nineteenth-century New York State law that once mandated that we be free to the public. This was followed by a second legal action, filed by the same law firm, seeking monetary damages.

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This Weekend in Met History: March 17

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013

One hundred years ago this weekend, on March 17, 1913, The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired its first painting by the French Post-Impressionist master Paul Cézanne. The Museum purchased Cézanne's View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph at the groundbreaking International Exhibition of Modern Art, popularly known as the Armory Show.

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The 2013 Family Benefit: Heroes and Heroines at the Metropolitan

Kate Dobie, Associate Development Officer

Posted: Monday, March 4, 2013

On Monday, February 4, the Met hosted its twenty-first annual Family Benefit for families with kids of all ages. This year's theme, heroes and heroines, was a huge hit with parents and children alike.

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Today in Met History: March 1

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013

One hundred and forty years ago today, on March 1, 1873, The Metropolitan Museum of Art signed a lease for the Douglas Mansion, located at 128 West 14th Street in Manhattan. The rapidly expanding museum had outgrown its original location in the Dodworth Building in midtown and was in need of additional gallery space.

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Photographer Interview: Experiencing Art through Touch

Jennette Mullaney, Former Associate Email Marketing Manager, Digital Media

Posted: Friday, February 8, 2013

The Metropolitan Museum has a long history of making its collections accessible to blind and partially sighted visitors through touch and description. In the 1970s, the Museum established the Touch Collection, a group of small artworks from different curatorial departments, for the purpose of tactile exploration by blind and partially sighted visitors. Since 1998, these visitors have been invited to engage with a range of Museum objects through touch tours—guided or self-guided visits in which they can explore specific objects with their hands. For several years, photographer Matt Ducklo has captured participants on these tours at the Metropolitan and other museums, creating a body of work that explores how all people—both sighted and otherwise—experience art. I interviewed Matt about his work and how it has affected his own experience of looking at art.

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Today in Met History: February 4

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013

On Monday, February 4, 1963, a unique visitor entered The Metropolitan Museum of Art and remained in the building for the next three and a half weeks. Over one million people clamored to see her during her stay at the Museum, and the press reported extensively on her visit. To the great pleasure of the Metropolitan and its visitors, the Mona Lisa—perhaps the best known painting in the world—had come to the Museum as a loan from the Louvre.

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A New Web Feature: 82nd & Fifth

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013

We have just launched 82nd & Fifth, a new Web feature that asks one hundred curators from across the Museum to each talk about a work of art from the Met's collection that changed the way they see the world.
One work. One curator. Two minutes at a time.

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The Devoted Collector: William H. Riggs and the Department of Arms and Armor

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On Friday, May 9, 1913, the ship La France steamed into New York Harbor carrying William Henry Riggs, a wealthy American and lifelong collector of arms and armor. Riggs was returning from France to his native city for the first time in over forty years in order to donate his impressive collection to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accompanying Riggs was Bashford Dean, curator of the Metropolitan Museum's recently established Department of Arms and Armor and a well-known collector in his own right. Dean had spent close to a decade trying to persuade Riggs to give his collection to the Museum. Now, as a result of Dean's efforts, the Museum's new Arms and Armor department was set to acquire one of the greatest collections of its day.

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Near Neighbors: Brooklyn Dressmakers in the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

P. Grace Hernandez, 2010–11 Polaire Weissman Fellow, The Costume Institute

Posted: Monday, January 14, 2013

When the Brooklyn Museum transferred its costume collection to the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute in January 2009, the Met acquired an impressive array of garments from renowned European and American designers. Some highlights from the collection were featured in the related 2010 exhibitions American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity at the Met and American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection at the Brooklyn Museum. Yet the collection also contains a set of objects with noteworthy local origins: garments and accessories made by Brooklyn-based clothing and accessory makers—milliners, tailors, and dressmakers—working independently or in department stores during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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Marking the Arms and Armor Centennial

Donald J. La Rocca, Curator, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One hundred years ago, on October 28, 1912, the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art officially created the Department of Arms and Armor. From relatively modest beginnings, the department rapidly developed into one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of its type in the world.

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Thomas Hart Benton's America Today

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I am delighted to announce that Thomas Hart Benton's epic mural America Today—a sweeping panorama of American life, has been donated by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Art of the Islamic World: A New Resource for Teachers

Claire Moore, Assistant Museum Educator

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012

The importance of the Islamic world within current geopolitics and the global context in which we live makes the study of these regions essential in K–12 classrooms around the world.

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This Weekend in Met History: November 24

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012

One hundred and thirty-seven years ago this weekend, on November 24, 1875, the American businessman and philanthropist William Backhouse Astor died. Just three years earlier, Astor had been responsible for a milestone in Metropolitan Museum of Art history: donating to the newly established institution its first work of art made by an American, the marble statue California by Hiram Powers.

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Recent Acquisitions

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012

The works of art in the recent issue of the Met's Bulletin are striking for their strength and diversity, but one familiar note plays throughout: the name of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman.

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This Weekend in Met History: October 28

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, October 26, 2012

October 28, 2012, marks the centennial of the election of Edward S. Harkness as Trustee and Fellow for Life of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A lifelong philanthropist estimated to have donated one hundred million dollars to charity, Harkness spent twenty-eight years working on the Museum's behalf. A number of his gifts are among the most beloved and visited works of art within the Met's galleries.

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Antonio Tempesta's View of Rome: Portraying the Baroque Splendor of the Eternal City

Femke Speelberg, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In 1593, the Florence-born artist Antonio Tempesta (1555–1630) published one of his absolute masterpieces in print: a View of Rome composed out of twelve folio-sized, etched plates. When joined together in two rows of six, the print forms an impressive frieze measuring almost 3.5 by 8 feet (fig. 1).

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Book Smart

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, October 11, 2012

There's nothing like a good read, and today we're adding 643 books to your reading list. MetPublications puts nearly all of our publications—past, present, and future—online. That out-of-print catalogue from the Met's groundbreaking 1985 India exhibition? Now you can read it. The 1970 catalogue of the Wrightsman porcelain collection? That's there, too, along with hundreds of other titles from across the Museum.

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Ancient Egyptian Ostraca: A Reevaluation

Jennifer Babcock, 2009–2011 Hagop Kevorkian Curatorial Fellow, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art

Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Although I am an Egyptologist, I recently worked for two years in the Museum's Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art as the 2009–2011 Hagop Kevorkian Curatorial Fellow. The experience was invaluable, not only for its curatorial training, but also for the opportunity to approach my dissertation topic—ancient Egyptian ostraca—from a cross-disciplinary perspective.

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All Art Was Once Contemporary

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012

Last March I posted a message about my time at TED, the annual four-day conference dedicated to the concept of "Ideas Worth Spreading." My talk is now available, and I'm pleased to share it. I hope it inspires you to visit the Met and spread some of the great ideas that connect our collections, our scholarship, and our visitors.

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In Memoriam: Arthur Ochs Sulzberger

Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012

The Trustees and staff of The Metropolitan Museum of Art mourn the passing of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, whose wise stewardship and tireless devotion benefited this institution in countless ways over the past four decades.

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Live Stream: Patti Smith in Concert

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012

On Friday, September 28, at 7:00 p.m., rock legend Patti Smith will pay tribute to Andy Warhol, her fellow traveler on the cutting edge of the New York art and music scene in the 1970s. The concert is sold out, but a live audio stream of the performance will be available in Met Media.

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The French Franciscan Cloister in New York

Céline Brugeat, 2011–2012 Annette Kade Fellow, Department of Medieval Art

Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Cloisters incorporates significant sculptural ensembles from medieval cloisters from the south of France, traditionally identified as coming from four sites: Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, Trie-en-Bigorre, and Bonnefont-en-Comminges.

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The High-Tech Met

Jennette Mullaney, Former Associate Email Marketing Manager, Digital Media

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Twenty-five digital artists and programmers descended upon the Metropolitan Museum's Art Studio on June 1 and 2 for our first 3D scanning and printing Hackathon. The invited guests, along with staff from MakerBot Industries, spent two action-packed days photographing Museum objects and using specialized printers to convert their images into 3D models.

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Spring Fashion Forecast for The Costume Institute = PUNK

Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Costume Institute's next exhibition swerves to the streets and clubs of New York and London, then to ateliers and runways with PUNK: Chaos to Couture. The exhibition, on view from May 9 through August 11, 2013, will examine punk's impact from the 1970s to its continuing influence on high fashion now.

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If Tea Bowls Could Talk

Denise Patry Leidy, Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hundreds of stories are embedded in the Chinese ceramics that have recently been reinstalled on the Great Hall Balcony (Gallery 200 through Gallery 205), at the heart of the Museum. Some of these stories tell of technological advances in ceramic production, others illustrate aspects of Chinese culture, and many—including comparative pieces from around the world—illustrate China's continuous and complicated impact in global ceramic history. All of these stories intertwine in fascinating and, sometimes, unexpected ways.

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What's New in Met Media

Maureen Coyle, Twelve-Month Intern, Digital Media

Posted: Thursday, August 9, 2012

We have quite a few new items in Met Media this week, including videos of several symposia. The Discoveries symposium, held in conjunction with the opening of the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, featured scholarship focused on works on paper, textiles, the Damascus Room, the city of Nishapur, and stucco and ceramic figures.

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Digitizing the Libraries' Collections: Industrial Arts at the Metropolitan Museum, 1917–40

Antoniette M. Guglielmo, 2011–2012 Sylvan C. Coleman and Pamela Coleman Memorial Fund Fellow, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art

Posted: Monday, July 30, 2012

When the Museum Library took its first steps toward digitizing rare materials from its collection over two years ago, one of the first groups of items we selected for scanning was a set of pamphlets that accompanied a landmark series of American industrial arts exhibitions from 1917 to 1940.

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Buddhism along the Silk Road

Kurt Behrendt, Assistant Curator, Department of Asian Art

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012

At the end of the fifth century, the great Buddhist centers of Gandhara in Northern Pakistan collapsed in the wake of Hun invasions that swept in from the area north of Afghanistan. The current exhibition Buddhism along the Silk Road: 5th–8th Century (on view through February 10, 2013) focuses on art produced as a result of contact with the dispersed Gandharan Buddhist communities, who were moving into Afghanistan and up into the Western parts of Central Asia.

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Met 3D: The Museum's First 3D Scanning and Printing Hackathon

Jackie Terrassa, Managing Museum Educator for Gallery and Studio Programs, Education; and Don Undeen, Senior Manager of Media Lab, Digital Media

Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2012

Artists come to the Met every day to be inspired, discovering visual and technical solutions in works from every corner of the world, ranging from ancient times to the present day. They might attend a program, sketch from objects, or create their own copies of original paintings, as they have done since 1872 when the Met first allowed artists to re-create works of art on display.

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Behind the Scenes of Tomás Saraceno on the Roof: Cloud City

Thomas B. Ling, Associate Manager, The Photograph Studio

Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Each spring, as soon as the weather gets warm, friends start asking me when the Museum's Roof Garden will be open. By the time they ask, I've already been excited for months, anticipating the installation process and the opportunity to collaborate with the exhibiting artist (or artists), curators, fabricators, and installers who, each year, transform one of my favorite places in the city into a totally new space.

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Through Monet's Garden, a Collaboration Blossoms

Masha Turchinsky, Senior Manager for Digital Learning & Senior Media Producer, Digital Media

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2012

It's springtime in New York, and to celebrate we've collaborated with the New York Botanical Garden on a free app that invites you to experience Claude Monet's living masterpiece, his garden at Giverny.

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Murder Goes Mobile at the Met!

Alice W. Schwarz, Museum Educator; Masha Turchinsky, Senior Manager for Digital Learning & Senior Media Producer, Digital Media; and Katherine Abbey, Twelve-Month Education Intern

Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What do Madame X, a murder, and a mobile phone have in common? They are all part of Murder at the Met: An American Art Mystery, the first mobile detective game created by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with Green Door Labs and TourSphere.

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Eight New Languages for My Audio Tour of the Met

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012

We like to think that the language of art is universal, but a museum like the Met, with an audience that is forty percent international, cannot ignore the global scope of its visitors. There are some days when the Met's Great Hall is a glorious cacophony of languages from all over the world—and from all over New York.

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Met Museum Presents...

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012

We are delighted to unveil the 2012–13 season of Met Museum Presents, our newly renamed performing arts and talks series. This is the first season programmed by Concerts & Lectures General Manager Limor Tomer, who began working at the Met in July 2011. The video above certainly captures the new approach that the Met is taking toward performance at the Museum.

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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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Today in Met History: March 20

Anna Bernhard, Archives Assistant, Museum Archives

Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One hundred and forty years ago today, on March 20, 1872, the City of New York's Department of Public Parks designated the area between 79th and 84th Streets in Central Park as the future site of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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What's Your Met?

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2012

"What's your Met?" We asked this question of eleven celebrities, and were delighted by the range of answers we got from Alex Rodriguez, Claire Danes, Marc Jacobs, Alicia Keys, Jeff Koons, Seth Meyers, Zaha Hadid, Hugh Jackman, Kristen Wiig, and Carmelo and La La Anthony.

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Featured Publication: The Renaissance Portrait

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

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.

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My Time at TED

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

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."

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This Weekend in Met History: February 20

James Moske, Managing Archivist, Museum Archives

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.

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Displaying Islamic Art at the Metropolitan: A Retrospective Look

Rebecca Lindsey, Visiting Committee Member, Department of Musical Instruments and Department of Islamic Art

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.

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Love at the Met: Historic Valentines and Paper Kisses

Femke Speelberg, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

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.

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Featured Publication: Heroic Africans

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

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.

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The New American Wing Galleries

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

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.

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Lisbon's Hebrew Bible: An Enlightened Acquisition

Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters; and Melanie Holcomb, Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

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.

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Digitizing the Libraries' Collections: An Introduction

Robyn Fleming, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Dan Lipcan, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

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.

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Connecting with Islamic Art at the Metropolitan

Deniz Beyazit, Assistant Curator, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Islamic art, architecture, and cultural traditions are closely related to other artistic movements around the world. In conjunction with the opening of the new Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, which house works from the Met's Department of Islamic Art, I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight related objects from the Museum's other curatorial departments.

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Connections Reaches 100

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Friday, December 30, 2011

At the beginning of 2011 we embarked on a project called Connections, a Web feature that explored the collections through themes that were personal to Met staff. One hundred employees from across the Museum participated in the project, which allowed them to articulate their own distinct relationship with objects in our collections. Some were surprising, others provocative, many deeply moving.

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A Great Year at the Met

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Thursday, December 22, 2011

Throughout 2011, our global audience has helped bring new energy to the Met. It's an exciting time for the Museum, marked by outstanding scholarship and incredible new ways to access and explore our collections. This short video captures some of my thoughts about this moment and the tremendous potential the Met's future holds. It comes with my thanks for your continued interest and support.

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Google Goggles

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Friday, December 16, 2011

Have you ever seen a work of art—on a poster, in a book, on a billboard, or even in one of the Met's galleries—and simply had to know more about it? Now you can. I'm pleased to announce a new collaboration with Google that lets you take a picture of a work of art with your mobile device and link straight to more information on metmuseum.org. This is yet another milestone in our effort to provide global access to our collections.

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Today in Met History: December 13

Julie Tran Lê, Library Associate, The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sixty-five years ago today, on December 13, 1946, The Costume Institute's first exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum opened to the public.

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The 9/11 Peace Story Quilt

Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, the Museum mounted a small exhibition, The 9/11 Peace Story Quilt in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education. On September 11, 2011, Museum visitors from all walks of life participated in various special events at the Museum: a lecture by artist Faith Ringgold—who designed the quilt with New York City youth—poetry readings, and a memorial concert.

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The Met Around the World

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today we launch a new section of the Met's website: The Met Around the World. The work of the Metropolitan Museum reflects the global scope of its collections and extends across the world through a variety of initiatives and programs including exhibitions, excavations, fellowships, professional exchanges, conservation projects, and traveling works of art. All these activities are now consolidated here to allow you to search them by location or category.

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Fellows Series: The Etched Decoration of German Renaissance Armor

Stefan Krause, 2010–2011 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011

Armor made from steel plates that covered almost the entire body was developed around the late fourteenth century in Northern Italy, and spread north of the Alps soon after. Most early examples were plain, but by the middle of the fifteenth century armorers began to emboss surfaces with ridges and grooves and add gilt copper-alloy applications, transferring current tastes in civilian fashion to create sumptuous garments of steel. The turn of the sixteenth century saw the first elements of armor embellished with etching, a technique that dominated the decor until the end of armor as an art form, in the middle of the seventeenth century.

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Today in Met History: November 15

Rebecca Weintraub, Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011

One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, on November 15, 1886, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Board of Trustees officially approved the establishment of the institution's first curatorial departments—the Department of Paintings, Department of Sculpture, and Department of Casts.

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The Challenge of Interpreting Caricatures and Satires

Nadine Orenstein, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Caricatures and satires are generally created to comment on specific events or moments in history. The Headache, Enrique Chagoya's print of President Obama, for example, reminds us of the strident debates that took place more than a year ago about changes to the U.S. healthcare system. Chagoya based his image on a nineteenth-century print by George Cruikshank entitled The Head Ache that illustrates a man attacked by hammering and drilling demons who are the source of his woes.

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The Shows Go On: Exhibitions at the Met

Ryan Wong, Former Administrative Assistant for Exhibitions, Office of the Director

Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011

When I joined the Metropolitan's Exhibitions Office, I could not have imagined the immensity of the work that goes into the exhibitions program. It can take up to five years for an exhibition to turn from a proposal into an installation and involve hundreds of workers across the Museum. In this post, I hope to answer the questions about the exhibitions process that I always had while roaming the galleries as a visitor.

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New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Monday, October 24, 2011

Today is a landmark day for the Metropolitan Museum as we celebrate the new Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, a spectacular achievement for the Museum and its Islamic Art Department.

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Featured Publication—Turkmen Jewelry: Silver Ornaments from the Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Collection
Interview with the Collectors

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011

One of several new Met books that will accompany the November 1 reopening of the Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, this month's featured publication will be the first English-language book devoted to the extraordinary silver jewelry of the nomadic Turkmen people of Central Asia.

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Infinite Jest: A New Exhibition about an Old Tradition

Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO

Posted: Monday, October 3, 2011

Humor and museums are not often linked. We can be informative, inspiring, even entertaining. But funny? Perhaps not as often as we should be.

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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.