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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

An American Voyage for French Tapestries

James Moske, Managing Archivist, Museum Archives

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.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

The Clock Strikes Midnight for Grand Design

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

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.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Four Drawings by Coecke: Before and After

Stijn Alsteens, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

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.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Curatorial Conversations: Maryan Ainsworth on Coecke's Panel Paintings

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

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.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Chasing Shadows: Shadow Puppets Tell Tapestry Tales

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Sunday, December 21, at 1:15 and 3:00 p.m., artist Caroline Borderies, in partnership with the Museum's Education Department, will perform an original, family-friendly shadow-puppet show inspired by Pieter Coecke van Aelst's Vertumnus and Pomona tapestries, now on display in Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry. I recently spoke with Caroline about her art and the premiere of her newest show.

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Met Museum Presents Blog

Curators Take Center Stage: Talks at the Met

Meryl Cates, Press Officer, Met Museum Presents

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.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Curatorial Conversations: Stijn Alsteens on Pieter Coecke's Drawings

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stijn Alsteens, curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints and a co-curator of Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, selected the exhibition's array of drawings. I recently spoke with Stijn about Coecke's highly accomplished, technically complex, and rare drawings.

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Grand Design Exhibition Blog

Curatorial Conversations: Nadine Orenstein on Pieter Coecke's Prints

Sarah Mallory, Research Assistant, European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

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.

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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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