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.
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.
Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014
After the exhibition The American West in Bronze, 1850–1925 closed at the Met on April 13, 2014, it traveled to the Denver Art Museum, where it was on view through August 31. While Colorado is located in the heart of the American West, the show's current venue, the Nanjing Museum in China, represents an exciting new frontier for these sculptures. This is certainly not the first exhibition of American art to travel to China, but it is the first focused on bronze statuettes—including forty-four works by twenty-two artists, with the roster of lenders comprising public and private collections in and around New York and Denver. Although fewer objects are included in the Nanjing Museum presentation than in either the New York or Denver venues, the organizing structure remains the same: Old West themes representing American Indians, cowboys and settlers, and animals of the plains and mountains.
Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014
The mid-nineteenth century was a period of incredible stagnation for French music, especially for those composers working in the vocal arts. Only five new French operas were commissioned by the Opéra Comique in Paris between 1852 and 1870, and France had yet to forge their own style of art song, despite the widespread interest German composers had developed in the musical form earlier in the century. However, the passage of multiple revolutions and failed empires in the mid-nineteenth century gave French artists across all disciplines a spectrum of intense emotions to convey, and the wealth of art song in the country quickly began to accumulate.
Posted: Tuesday, April 8, 2014
The Cesnola Collection of Cypriot Art: Stone Sculpture (2014) is the first comprehensive publication of 635 stone sculptures in the Met's extensive collection of ancient art from the island of Cyprus. Published online, in a historic first for the Museum, the publication is available to read, download, and search in MetPublications at no cost. A paperbound edition, complete and printed as a 436-page print-on-demand book with 949 full-color illustrations, is also available for purchase and can be ordered on Yale University Press's website.
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.
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.
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.
Posted: Friday, July 9, 2010
Each year, the Met holds four meetings at which curators present works of art to a special committee of Trustees for possible purchase by the Museum. It is a thoughtful and rigorous process, and it is always a thrill to see the acquired objects when they finally arrive in our galleries. This past year's purchases included four exquisite works of sculpture spanning from the ancient world to the mid-eighteenth century.
Posted: Saturday, June 12, 2010
Eighty-five years ago today, on June 12, 1925, The Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased a collection of medieval sculpture and architectural fragments from George Grey Barnard (1863–1938), a prominent American sculptor and collector. This acquisition formed the nucleus of what would become The Cloisters, the branch of the Museum located in Northern Manhattan and devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe.