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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.

Now at the Met

Grace Under Pressure: Hungarian Goldsmiths and Their Guilds

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

Posted: Monday, August 10, 2015

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

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Now at the Met

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

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

Posted: Monday, August 3, 2015

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

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Met Museum Presents Blog

The Return Makes Its Highly Anticipated Premiere

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Friday, July 10, 2015

Reid Farrington's The Return is being described as a digital performance installation primarily because that's a more concise way of stating what it really is: a groundbreaking new work that simply must be experienced live. Combining animation technology and continuous live performance, The Return will run during Museum hours for twenty-three days—beginning tomorrow, July 11, through August 2. Commissioned by Met Museum Presents, Farrington's work investigates dynamically the twelve-year restoration of Tullio Lombardo's shattered sculptural masterpiece, Adam (ca. 1490–95), now located in gallery 504, Venetian Sculpture of the Renaissance.

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Met Museum Presents Blog

Daring Performances in Iconic Spaces: A 2015 Met Museum Presents Itinerary

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Friday, June 12, 2015

Over the course of this past season, live arts at the Met have offered audiences daring and intriguing performances. By staging events right in the galleries and commissioning new works specifically for these powerful and iconic spaces, Met Museum Presents invites audiences to connect and engage with their surroundings and to be active in the performance experience.

While reflecting on this past season, as well as looking ahead to our 2015–16 season, we've assembled this special itinerary to give visitors the opportunity to view the galleries that have inspired memorable performances and have sparked the creativity of some of today's most fearless artists.

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Now at the Met

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

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

Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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

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Now at the Met

Worth Their Weight: Hungarian Silver from the Salgo Collection

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

Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015

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

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Teen Blog

Perfectly Imperfect

Brooke, TAG Member

Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015

I find one-minute gesture, or figure, drawings very challenging. My desire to create an intriguing composition makes capturing the model's gesture in such a short period of time even harder. Normally, I look to the Met's collection for inspiration when I find myself confronted by an artistic problem, but, in this case, I thought: "How many one-minute gesture drawings are actually on display in a museum full of meticulously constructed masterpieces?"

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In Season

Transforming the Glass Gallery—Treasures and Talismans: Rings from the Griffin Collection

C. Griffith Mann, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Monday, May 18, 2015

Spring has finally arrived in New York, and the gardens of The Cloisters are filling out quickly, announcing their return with tender shoots and splashes of color. Inside the museum, we have opened the new exhibition Treasures and Talismans: Rings from the Griffin Collection, now on view in the Glass Gallery through October 18, 2015. This exhibition showcases a group of exceptional rings assembled by a private collector alongside works of art drawn from the holdings of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Now at the Met

Discussing the Rise of French Art Deco with Author Jared Goss

Rachel High, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

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

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Met Museum Presents Blog

Behind the Fig Leaf

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

Posted: Friday, April 3, 2015

This Wednesday, April 8, Met Curator Luke Syson will give a talk, entitled Behind the Fig Leaf, about Tullio Lombardo's Adam (ca.1490–95)—the Renaissance marble of "The First Man" and one of the most important pieces of Venetian sculpture held outside of that city. After a terrible accident that left him in pieces and the painstaking restoration of the artwork, Adam is now on display in Tullio Lombardo's Adam: A Masterpiece Restored, on view through July 2015. Located in a specially designed space, gallery 504, the exhibition also features captivating video footage of the conservators at work during this extensive restoration project.

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