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.
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.
Posted: Tuesday, February 3, 2015
During several visits to the recent exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, I marveled at how the artist's inventive compositions guided my eyes through the dramatic, active scenes these artworks portray. The many fantastic details which augment each narrative rewarded repeated viewing and inspired a sense of awe for the unity of effort required to plan and create such massive, intricate images. At times I felt a bit overwhelmed by the immensity of the tapestries—all but one of them loaned from European museums and private collections—and wondered about the tremendous physical labor it must have taken to bring them to New York and install them here at the Metropolitan Museum.
Posted: Tuesday, January 6, 2015
This Sunday, January 11, will be the final day to visit the exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry before its three-month run draws to a close. On January 12, Museum staff, observed by lenders' couriers, will begin to dismantle the displays and pack away the tapestries, paintings, drawings, and prints, ready to dispatch them back to their generous home collections.
Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Working on a major exhibition can feel like cooking a very elaborate meal: the preparation takes much longer than the actual event. Many of these preparations—especially conservation efforts—go unnoticed, although the result is there for any visitor to the show to see. While working on Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, I felt that four of the drawings selected for the show would benefit from conservation treatment before going on view in our galleries. Because none of these sheets is owned by the Metropolitan Museum, I had to rely on the willingness of curators and conservators abroad, as well as that of a private collector in New York, to consider my request.
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Pieter Coecke van Aelst was a highly skilled and accomplished panel painter, yet many art historians associate him with a body of pedestrian paintings. Maryan Ainsworth, curator in the Department of European Paintings and co-curator of Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, examined this disparity through her close study of his painted works. I recently spoke with Maryan about Coecke's paintings and why the seven panel paintings on display in the exhibition are worthy of special attention.
Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Posted: Thursday, December 11, 2014
For the past three seasons, the Met Museum Presents Ticketed Talks program has tapped into the talent within the Museum—and why not? With the foremost scholars and researchers right under our own (very massive) roof, it became clear that audiences were keen to peek behind the art with those who know it best: the curators. It's the insider understanding we all crave when listening to a talk or panel or purchasing one of the Museum's many Audio Guides, and the reason we attach ourselves to the daily gallery tours—to hear the details, background, and compelling information to be learned from those in the know.
Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Nadine Orenstein, curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints and a co-curator of Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, selected the printed works on display in the exhibition. Interestingly, Pieter Coecke van Aelst was not a printmaker, though he published several important printed books. I recently spoke with Nadine about Coecke's unusual print projects and how they reflect his unique style.
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.