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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, Assistant Curator, 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, Associate 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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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.