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, 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.
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?"
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. 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.
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.
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