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: 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.
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.
Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Best-selling author, internationally renowned blogger, and marketing guru Seth Godin will join Elizabeth Cleland, the chief curator of Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, for a discussion about the exceedingly entrepreneurial Pieter Coecke van Aelst on December 1 at 6:00 p.m. in the Museum's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. This conversation is part of the Museum's ongoing SPARK Series of talks. Julie Burstein, SPARK host, author, and Peabody Award–winning creator of public radio's Studio 360, will guide the evening's discussion. I recently spoke with Burstein about SPARK and why she decided to introduce Seth Godin to Pieter Coecke.
Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Posted: Monday, November 10, 2014
What happens when gaming students are let loose on the Met's collection? We found our answer to this question this past spring when staff from the Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation collaborated with a group of intrepid and creative students at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The students were supervised by their professor, Elizabeth Goins, in a course titled "Interactive Design for Museums," part of RIT's Museum Games & Technology Initiative. The students were tasked with communicating the inside information conservators gather from studying the materials and techniques of works of art through a fun and engaging game aimed at general audiences.
Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2014
There are many rewarding aspects to curating an exhibition, but one perhaps less universally acknowledged—on the public platform at least—is the advantage of getting to know one's colleagues better by working so closely alongside them. In the case of Grand Design, I benefited immensely from time spent comparing ideas and testing theories with my co-curators, Maryan Ainsworth, who assembled Coecke's paintings included in the exhibition; Nadine Orenstein, who tackled his printed projects; and Stijn Alsteens, who worked on his drawings. Likewise, it was fascinating watching our designer, Dan Kershaw, finesse the incredibly daring and successful floor plan from which our exhibition derives its distinctive character. There are countless other Met colleagues with whom I worked on this exhibition as well. But perhaps the person whom I have come to know best is Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502–1550) himself.
Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014
Imagine you come home one afternoon to find a large envelope has been left for you at your door. The letter inside reads:
You are cordially invited to join Her Majesty the Queen for tea this afternoon
at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Accompanying the exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry is a fully illustrated catalogue by the same name. This lavish publication, the first comprehensive volume devoted to this Renaissance master since 1966, includes new, exceptionally detailed images of many of the exhibition's tapestries. The man behind most of these, and so many other, beautiful images is Bruce White, award-winning photographer and long-time Met collaborator. Bruce and I recently discussed his thoughts on tapestries, photography, and beauty.
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
A tapestry designer, painter, draftsman, and publisher of architectural treatises, Pieter Coecke van Aelst was quite literally a Renaissance man. Though he was a master of many media while active from the 1520s until his death in 1550, his contributions have been largely forgotten today. Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, the catalogue accompanying the exhibition currently on view through January 11, 2015, covers much more than just the artist's tapestries and aims to fill the nearly fifty-year gap in the literature on this great artist. I spoke with the catalogue's author, Associate Curator Elizabeth A. H. Cleland, about the book, her interest in Coecke, and why she thinks this Northern Renaissance master has been neglected in recent scholarship.