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European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

ESDA

The fifty thousand objects in the Museum's comprehensive and historically important collection of European sculpture and decorative arts reflect the development of a number of art forms in Western European countries from the early fifteenth through the early twentieth century. The holdings include sculpture in many sizes and media, woodwork and furniture, ceramics and glass, metalwork and jewelry, horological and mathematical instruments, and tapestries and textiles. Ceramics made in Asia for export to European markets and sculpture and decorative arts produced in Latin America during this period are also included among these works.

Met Museum Presents Blog

The New Season of SPARK: From Grand Tapestries to the Armor of Game of Thrones

Julie Burstein, author, creator of public radio's Studio 360, and SPARK host

Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Met's conversation series, SPARK, aims to explore vital cultural issues through the lens of the Museum—its collection, spaces, and incredible curators. Over the course of the series' inaugural season last year, we had some amazing and unexpected conversations, and I'm eager to hear what happens when our new season begins on December 1.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Gluttony Is Good? Preparing Coecke's Gluttony Tapestry for Display

Giulia Chiostrini, Assistant Conservator, Department of Textile Conservation

Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Around 1532–4, Pieter Coecke van Aelst designed a seven-piece tapestry series depicting the seven deadly sins, with one panel per sin: Pride, Avarice, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Anger, and Sloth. The Museum is lucky enough to have in its collection one edition of the Gluttony tapestry, which is now on display in the exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry. Since 2012, the staff of the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Textile Conservation has been preparing the tapestry for display by carrying out technical examinations and conservation treatments on the piece.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Grand Design: Ideas That Spread

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Best-selling author, internationally renowned blogger, and marketing guru Seth Godin will join Elizabeth Cleland, the chief curator of Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, for a discussion about the exceedingly entrepreneurial Pieter Coecke van Aelst on December 1 at 6:00 p.m. in the Museum's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. This conversation is part of the Museum's ongoing SPARK Series of talks. Julie Burstein, SPARK host, author, and Peabody Award–winning creator of public radio's Studio 360, will guide the evening's discussion. I recently spoke with Burstein about SPARK and why she decided to introduce Seth Godin to Pieter Coecke.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

The Grand Vistas of Grand Design: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Designing the Exhibition

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Exhibition Designer Dan Kershaw is the mastermind behind the stunning gallery spaces in Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry. I recently spoke with Kershaw about his vision for the show and to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the design and construction of the exhibition galleries.

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Now at the Met

Conservation Through a Gamer's Eye

Ashira Loike, Assistant Administrator, Department of Objects Conservation; and Beth Edelstein, Associate Conservator, Department of Objects Conservation

Posted: Monday, November 10, 2014

What happens when gaming students are let loose on the Met's collection? We found our answer to this question this past spring when staff from the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation collaborated with a group of intrepid and creative students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The students were supervised by their professor, Elizabeth Goins, in a course titled "Interactive Design for Museums," part of RIT's Museum Games & Technology Initiative. The students were tasked with communicating the inside information conservators gather from studying the materials and techniques of works of art through a fun and engaging game aimed at general audiences.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Getting to Know Pieter Coecke van Aelst

Elizabeth Cleland, Associate Curator, Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2014

There are many rewarding aspects to curating an exhibition, but one perhaps less universally acknowledged—on the public platform at least—is the advantage of getting to know one's colleagues better by working so closely alongside them. In the case of Grand Design, I benefited immensely from time spent comparing ideas and testing theories with my co-curators, Maryan Ainsworth, who assembled Coecke's paintings included in the exhibition; Nadine Orenstein, who tackled his printed projects; and Stijn Alsteens, who worked on his drawings. Likewise, it was fascinating watching our designer, Dan Kershaw, finesse the incredibly daring and successful floor plan from which our exhibition derives its distinctive character. There are countless other Met colleagues with whom I worked on this exhibition as well. But perhaps the person whom I have come to know best is Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502–1550) himself.

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Teen Blog

Let Them Eat Cake

Julia S., Former High School Intern

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014

Imagine you come home one afternoon to find a large envelope has been left for you at your door. The letter inside reads:

You are cordially invited to join Her Majesty the Queen for tea this afternoon
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Coecke's Monsters: Tapestry Zombies and Beastly Beauties

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Still need an idea for a Halloween costume? Look no further. All manner of magical, menacing, and mysterious monster lurks throughout the massive tapestries on display in Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Capturing Grand Design: Bruce White on Photographing Tapestries

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Accompanying the exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry is a fully illustrated catalogue by the same name. This lavish publication, the first comprehensive volume devoted to this Renaissance master since 1966, includes new, exceptionally detailed images of many of the exhibition's tapestries. The man behind most of these, and so many other, beautiful images is Bruce White, award-winning photographer and long-time Met collaborator. Bruce and I recently discussed his thoughts on tapestries, photography, and beauty.

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Now at the Met

Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry—Interview with Author Elizabeth Cleland

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A tapestry designer, painter, draftsman, and publisher of architectural treatises, Pieter Coecke van Aelst was quite literally a Renaissance man. Though he was a master of many media while active from the 1520s until his death in 1550, his contributions have been largely forgotten today. Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, the catalogue accompanying the exhibition currently on view through January 11, 2015, covers much more than just the artist's tapestries and aims to fill the nearly fifty-year gap in the literature on this great artist. I spoke with the catalogue's author, Associate Curator Elizabeth A. H. Cleland, about the book, her interest in Coecke, and why she thinks this Northern Renaissance master has been neglected in recent scholarship.

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