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, October 30, 2015
If you stop by the Met this Halloween, you might happen to see one of our many representations of the character Harlequin (or the female version, Harlequina), a comedic actor in a diamond-patterned costume who derives from the sixteenth-century Italian commedia dell'arte. But if your Halloween plans involve welcoming trick-or-treaters, you're more likely to see Harley Quinn, a modern version of the classic character and a Batman villain in the DC Comics universe—who also happens to be this year's most popular Halloween costume.
Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2015
I wrote the poems featured in this post while visiting the Met over the course of the past six months. The key to writing about these artworks was having a connection to them over time. Sitting in a gallery for about fifteen minutes each visit, I first looked at all the artworks in the space, and then zeroed in on one that drew my attention. I then jotted down notes, and made quick sketches with a pink sharpie in my moleskin journal. During subsequent visits, I wrote rough drafts, and then edited them into polished pieces.
Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2015
One of the most striking aspects of the silk and metal-thread embroideries on view through November 1, 2015, in Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World is how labor-intensive they are. One might wonder who devoted so much time and eyestrain to creating these pieces, and at whose behest? Although they form a minority within the body of surviving liturgical embroideries, pieces inscribed with the names of the donor or the embroiderer help scholars to answer these questions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"