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Stories in Features

Featured Publication—Interview with the Photographer: Joe Coscia

Nadja Hansen, Former Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2012

European Sculpture, 1400–1900

Chief Photographer Joe Coscia has worked at the Museum for more than twenty years. One of his recent assignments was to photograph the works of art for Masterpieces of European Sculpture in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1400–1900, written by Ian Wardropper and published last fall. I asked him about the unique work of a museum photographer, as well as the collaborations and complex choices involved in shooting the masterpieces illustrated in this book.

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Today in Met History: March 20

Anna Bernhard, Archives Assistant, Museum Archives

Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Building in Central Park

One hundred and forty years ago today, on March 20, 1872, the City of New York's Department of Public Parks designated the area between 79th and 84th Streets in Central Park as the future site of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Featured Publication: The Renaissance Portrait

Nadja Hansen, Former Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Renaissance Portrait Catalogue

In the words of the historian Jacob Burckhardt, fifteenth-century Italy was "the place where the notion of the individual was born." In keeping with this notion, early Renaissance Italy hosted the first great age of portraiture in Europe.

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This Weekend in Met History: February 20

James Moske, Managing Archivist, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2012

Detail of the Dodworth lease

One hundred and forty years ago, on February 20, 1872, The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors to the public for the first time.

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Displaying Islamic Art at the Metropolitan: A Retrospective Look

Rebecca Lindsey, Visiting Committee Member, Department of Musical Instruments and Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012

Postcard showing Gallery E-14, the so-called "Persian Room," 1912

A Metropolitan Museum patron interested in Islamic art in the 1880s would have found little of relevance on display.1 By 1910, however, the situation was very much improved, and in the century since then, the Islamic art displays at the Museum have become the largest in the Western world. This essay briefly describes the evolution of the display of Islamic art at the Metropolitan Museum—from the first largely visual exhibitions to the present scholarly organization by style, material, and civilization.

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Love at the Met: Historic Valentines and Paper Kisses

Femke Speelberg, Associate Curator in Ornament and Architectural Prints, Drawings, and Modelbooks, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Heart-shaped valentines card, 1850–1899 | 1989.1154

"Pity my life and be my wife."

These words were delivered in a round, white box to a Miss Oliver in Hythe, Southampton, in the mid-nineteenth century. The box contained a beautiful Valentine's Day card covered in lace, with a basket of textile flowers in its center. Although we may never know if Miss Oliver accepted the somewhat woefully expressed petition of the man who loved her, we do know that the card and even its container survived the test of time, cherished at the very least as a keepsake.

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Featured Publication: Heroic Africans

Nadja Hansen, Former Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012

Featured Publication: Heroic Africans

Alisa LaGamma, curator of Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures and author of the accompanying catalogue, recently discussed the Commemorative figure of a priestess, one of the masterpieces from the exhibition, for the Yale University Press blog.

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Lisbon's Hebrew Bible: An Enlightened Acquisition

Barbara Drake Boehm, Paul and Jill Ruddock Senior Curator for The Met Cloisters; and Melanie Holcomb, Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Monday, January 9, 2012

Reading Room of the National Library of Portugal, Lisbon

By any standards, Lisbon's Hebrew Bible—now on view at the Met—is a masterpiece of medieval illumination. Its acquisition in 1804 by the National Library of Portugal may be credited to the enlightened intellectualism of the institution's first librarian, António Ribeiro dos Santos.

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Digitizing the Libraries' Collections: An Introduction

Robyn Fleming, Associate Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Dan Lipcan, Associate Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library

Posted: Thursday, January 5, 2012

NE57 .C6 1874

The Museum Library, authorized by the Museum's 1870 charter and formally established in 1880, is one of the world's great collections of art historical research materials. However, thousands of printed books in the Library and other departments of the Museum are deteriorating rapidly through heavy use, acidic paper, or both. In some cases, important information has already been lost.

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Connecting with Islamic Art at the Metropolitan

Deniz Beyazit, Assistant Curator, Department of Islamic Art

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Lion Court at the Alhambra, Viewed from Beneath the Portico Temple

Islamic art, architecture, and cultural traditions are closely related to other artistic movements around the world. In conjunction with the opening of the new Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, which house works from the Met's Department of Islamic Art, I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight related objects from the Museum's other curatorial departments.

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Today in Met History: December 13

Julie Tran Lê, Library Associate, The Irene Lewisohn Costume Reference Library

Posted: Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Image from a section entitled “1867-1870: Flamboyant Lines”

Sixty-five years ago today, on December 13, 1946, The Costume Institute's first exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum opened to the public.

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The 9/11 Peace Story Quilt

Posted: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, the Museum mounted a small exhibition, The 9/11 Peace Story Quilt in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education. On September 11, 2011, Museum visitors from all walks of life participated in various special events at the Museum: a lecture by artist Faith Ringgold—who designed the quilt with New York City youth—poetry readings, and a memorial concert.

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Fellows Series: The Etched Decoration of German Renaissance Armor

Stefan Krause, 2010–2011 Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Department of Arms and Armor

Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011

Detail of a left pauldron

Armor made from steel plates that covered almost the entire body was developed around the late fourteenth century in Northern Italy, and spread north of the Alps soon after. Most early examples were plain, but by the middle of the fifteenth century armorers began to emboss surfaces with ridges and grooves and add gilt copper-alloy applications, transferring current tastes in civilian fashion to create sumptuous garments of steel. The turn of the sixteenth century saw the first elements of armor embellished with etching, a technique that dominated the decor until the end of armor as an art form, in the middle of the seventeenth century.

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Today in Met History: November 15

Rebecca Weintraub, Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wilford S. Conrow | Professor William H. Goodyear | 1916 | Brooklyn Museum | 25.182

One hundred and twenty-five years ago today, on November 15, 1886, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Board of Trustees officially approved the establishment of the institution's first curatorial departments—the Department of Paintings, Department of Sculpture, and Department of Casts.

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The Challenge of Interpreting Caricatures and Satires

Nadine Orenstein, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Enrique Chagoya | The Headache, A Print after George Cruikshank | 2010 | 2010.285

Caricatures and satires are generally created to comment on specific events or moments in history. The Headache, Enrique Chagoya's print of President Obama, for example, reminds us of the strident debates that took place more than a year ago about changes to the U.S. healthcare system. Chagoya based his image on a nineteenth-century print by George Cruikshank entitled The Head Ache that illustrates a man attacked by hammering and drilling demons who are the source of his woes.

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The Shows Go On: Exhibitions at the Met

Ryan Wong, Former Administrative Assistant for Exhibitions, Office of the Director

Posted: Friday, November 4, 2011

Gallery view of Heroic Africans: Legendary Leaders, Iconic Sculptures

When I joined the Metropolitan's Exhibitions Office, I could not have imagined the immensity of the work that goes into the exhibitions program. It can take up to five years for an exhibition to turn from a proposal into an installation and involve hundreds of workers across the Museum. In this post, I hope to answer the questions about the exhibitions process that I always had while roaming the galleries as a visitor.

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Featured Publication—Turkmen Jewelry: Silver Ornaments from the Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Collection
Interview with the Collectors

Nadja Hansen, Former Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011

Turkmen Jewelry

One of several new Met books that will accompany the November 1 reopening of the Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia, this month's featured publication will be the first English-language book devoted to the extraordinary silver jewelry of the nomadic Turkmen people of Central Asia.

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Curator Interview: Suzuki Kiitsu's Morning Glories

Jennette Mullaney, Former Associate Email Marketing Manager, Digital Media

Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Morning Glories

Suzuki Kiitsu's Morning Glories is the signature work of art in the exhibition A Sensitivity to the Seasons: Summer and Autumn in Japanese Art, open through October 23. Assistant Curator Sinéad Kehoe discussed this splendid work with me.

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The Met's Online Community Responds to McQueen

Lucy Redoglia, Former Associate Online Community Producer, Digital Media

Posted: Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, "Romantic Naturalism" gallery view

At the Met, we're always eager to hear from our online community through our various social media channels. Whether it's a comment about the Featured Artwork of the Day on our Facebook page, a question posed on Twitter, or a photograph posted to our Flickr group pool, our online visitors' responses are thoughtful and varied, and we enjoy reading and responding to them. Recently, the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty provided the Museum with an opportunity to hear from our online community in a new way; on a special McQueen page, we invited visitors to answer the question "What made you realize that fashion is an art form?" Not surprisingly, we received a wonderful range of responses, and we're excited to share them with you.

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The Artistic Community of Seventeenth-Century Utrecht

Elizabeth A. Nogrady, 2010–11 J. Clawson Mills Fellow

Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As the J. Clawson Mills Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for 2010–11, my research has focused on the artistic community in the city of Utrecht during the seventeenth-century "Golden Age" of Dutch painting. Through close examination of this network of artists, I have explored Utrecht's role in the magnificent flourishing of the arts that occurred at this time in the Netherlands, despite the civil discord caused by the Dutch fight for independence from Spain. This circle of artists used several different avenues—including displays of camaraderie, strong professional organizations, an emphasis on artists' education, and joint artistic endeavors—to keep their community strong even as Utrecht buckled under the political, religious, and social strain of war.

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