Grief

Curator of European paintings Andrea Bayer traces her process of mourning after her parents' recent deaths.

Loading

It was a completely inner experience for me, as if I had been enclosed in one of those great hoods, completely wrapped in my own grief.

Play again
Connections Home

URL
Share
Sign Up

New Connections appear every Wednesday. Sign up for a reminder.

Captions On
/
  • Andrea Bayer
    1280852
  • Jacquelyn Sacks and Nat Leichter (parents of Andrea Bayer)  |  1950s
    12801024
  • The Artist's Parents  |  1932  |  Raphael Soyer (American, born Russia)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Gift of the artist, 1979 (1979.550)
    11021024
  • The Crucifixion  |  1340s  |  Pietro Lorenzetti (Italian, Sienese)  |  Tempera on wood, gold ground, with original engaged frame  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 2002 (2002.436)
    7741024
  • The Crucifixion  |  1340s  |  Pietro Lorenzetti (Italian, Sienese)  |  Tempera on wood, gold ground, with original engaged frame  |  Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 2002 (2002.436)
    7471024
  • The Death of Socrates  |  1787  |  Jacques-Louis David (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
    1280843
  • The Death of Socrates  |  1787  |  Jacques-Louis David (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
    10921024
  • The Death of Socrates  |  1787  |  Jacques-Louis David (French)  |  Oil on canvas  |  Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
    10121024
  • Venus and Adonis  |  Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Venetian)  |  Oil on canvas  |  The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.16)
    12721024
  • Venus and Adonis  |  Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Venetian)  |  Oil on canvas  |  The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.16)
    1150961
  • Sheet of Studies with a Woman Lying Ill in Bed, etc.  |  ca. 1641/42  |  Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)  |  Etching  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Bequest of Clifford A. Furst, by exchange (1972.523)
    12801008
  • Sheet of Studies with a Woman Lying Ill in Bed, etc.  |  ca. 1641/42  |  Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)  |  Etching  |  Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Bequest of Clifford A. Furst, by exchange (1972.523)
    11301024
  • Isfandiyar's Funeral Procession: From the Great Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings)  |  1330s  |  Iran, probably Tabriz  |  Ink, colors, and gold on paper  |  Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1933 (33.70)
    7431024
  • Isfandiyar's Funeral Procession: From the Great Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings)  |  1330s  |  Iran, probably Tabriz  |  Ink, colors, and gold on paper  |  Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1933 (33.70)
    1280977
  • Mourners  |  ca. 1453  |  Paul de Mosselman (Franco-Netherlandish, active in Bourges)  |  Alabaster  |  Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.386, .389)
    8791024
  • The Block  |  1971  |  Romare Bearden (American)  |  Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite  |  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shore, 1978 (1978.61.1–6)  |  © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
    1280285
  • The Block  |  1971  |  Romare Bearden (American)  |  Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite  |  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shore, 1978 (1978.61.1–6)  |  © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
    9031024
  • The Block  |  1971  |  Romare Bearden (American)  |  Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite  |  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shore, 1978 (1978.61.1–6)  |  © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
    1280739
  • The Block  |  1971  |  Romare Bearden (American)  |  Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite  |  Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shore, 1978 (1978.61.1–6)  |  © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
    11921024
  • Island of the Dead  |  1880  |  Arnold Böcklin (Swiss)  |  Oil on wood  |  Signed (lower right, on rock): A B  |  Reisinger Fund, 1926 (26.90)
    1280773
  • Island of the Dead  |  1880  |  Arnold Böcklin (Swiss)  |  Oil on wood  |  Signed (lower right, on rock): A B  |  Reisinger Fund, 1926 (26.90)
    1280935
  • The Great Hall  |  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
    1280853
  • Funerary plaque  |  ca. 520–510 b.c.; Archaic, black-figure  |  Greek, Attic  |  Terracotta  |  Rogers Fund, 1954 (54.11.5)
    1280955
  • Grave stele of a little girl  |  ca. 450–440 b.c.  |  Greek  |  Parian marble  |  Fletcher Fund, 1927 (27.45)
    5831024
  • Andrea Bayer
    1280852
  • My name is Andrea Bayer. I'm a curator in the department of European paintings. My topic is "Grief."

  • About two years ago, my lovely parents, Jackie and Nat, started to go into decline and over the course of the last year, both of them died. I think of them as youngsters

  • but in fact they were both quite aged. As you've lived longer and longer it's less and less

  • easy to escape from grief because the people that surround us

  • are going through troubles and trials and tribulations, and we experience that with them.

  • How many of us have been huddled around hospital beds, sitting side by side with someone in palliative care, and the doctors have said, "This is a matter of time, there is no more that we can do."

  • All of these things are positions of grief that you can witness any day in a hospital: head

  • in hands, slumped over, some are introspective, some are out there throwing their arms up. The premonition of death and the grief to come.

  • Almost all of us have loved someone the way Venus loves Adonis. And when you think of all the young military wives, whose husbands have to leave them to fight. They don't know whether they will be able to see them again and bring them back to their side.

  • Titian was one of those artists who I think could bring together life, love, lust, and just around the corner, death.

  • Rembrandt depicts a woman lying on her bed with her head in a pillow. It's obviously someone that he's very attached to. She's very ill, and he sees her lying there at the end of life, thinking about her disappearing. And then

  • he surrounds her with all of these vignettes of other figures, young, old. It's as if life encircles her, but she is at the moment of death.

  • Funerals are a moment of closure. Although I had to contribute to the funerals of

  • both of my parents, I don't remember anyone else who was there. It was a completely

  • inner experience for me, as if I had been enclosed in one of those great hoods, completely wrapped in my own grief, concentrated on my own sense of the meaning of the moment.

  • Romare Bearden's view of a funeral is much more about the

  • community and people getting together and this soul going up to heaven in a burst of color. There's something vibrant

  • and life affirming about this funeral. In fact, the only thing that strikes me as being sad is

  • the young boy, a figure with a lot of gravity and tenderness. It brings the flip side into this community in which life continues.

  • This has been a gloomy period for me, personally, and I hope that I'm at the end of it.

  • I know that my parents would want me to be at the end of it. Because my parents spent a lot of time in the Museum themselves, right after they died the place that was most wretched

  • for me was the Great Hall, where I always met them and always saw them. Once I got over that immediate sensation, I

  • started this other process, in which as I walked through the Museum, things called out to me, as a daughter

  • or as a mother, as someone who had deeply loved people

  • and then lost them.

  • 1979.550
    The Artist's Parents, 1932, Raphael Soyer (American, born Russia), Oil on canvas Gift of the artist, 1979 (1979.550)
  • 2002.436
    The Crucifixion, 1340s, Pietro Lorenzetti (Italian, Sienese), Tempera on wood, gold ground, with original engaged frame Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 2002 (2002.436)
  • 31.45
    The Death of Socrates, 1787, Jacques-Louis David (French), Oil on canvas Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
  • 49.7.16
    Venus and Adonis, Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Venetian), Oil on canvas The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.16)
  • 1972.523
    Sheet of Studies with a Woman Lying Ill in Bed, etc., ca. 1641/42, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Etching Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Bequest of Clifford A. Furst, by exchange (1972.523)
  • 33.70
    Isfandiyar's Funeral Procession: From the Great Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings), 1330s, Iran, probably Tabriz, Ink, colors, and gold on paper Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1933 (33.70)
  • 17.190.386,389
    Mourners, ca. 1453, Paul de Mosselman (Franco-Netherlandish, active in Bourges), Alabaster Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.386, .389)
  • 1978.61.1-6
    The Block, 1971, Romare Bearden (American), Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shore, 1978 (1978.61.1–6) © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
  • 26.90
    Island of the Dead, 1880, Arnold Böcklin (Swiss), Oil on wood, Signed (lower right, on rock): A B Reisinger Fund, 1926 (26.90)
  • 54.11.5
    Funerary plaque, ca. 520–510 b.c.; Archaic, black-figure, Greek, Attic, Terracotta Rogers Fund, 1954 (54.11.5)
  • 27.45
    Grave stele of a little girl, ca. 450–440 b.c., Greek, Parian marble Fletcher Fund, 1927 (27.45)
  • The Artist's Parents, 1932, Raphael Soyer (American, born Russia), Oil on canvas Gift of the artist, 1979 (1979.550)
    The Crucifixion, 1340s, Pietro Lorenzetti (Italian, Sienese), Tempera on wood, gold ground, with original engaged frame Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 2002 (2002.436)
    The Death of Socrates, 1787, Jacques-Louis David (French), Oil on canvas Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
    Venus and Adonis, Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Venetian), Oil on canvas The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.16)
    Sheet of Studies with a Woman Lying Ill in Bed, etc., ca. 1641/42, Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch), Etching Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Bequest of Clifford A. Furst, by exchange (1972.523)
    Isfandiyar's Funeral Procession: From the Great Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings), 1330s, Iran, probably Tabriz, Ink, colors, and gold on paper Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1933 (33.70)
    Mourners, ca. 1453, Paul de Mosselman (Franco-Netherlandish, active in Bourges), Alabaster Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.386, .389)
    The Block, 1971, Romare Bearden (American), Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shore, 1978 (1978.61.1–6) © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
    Island of the Dead, 1880, Arnold Böcklin (Swiss), Oil on wood, Signed (lower right, on rock): A B Reisinger Fund, 1926 (26.90)
    Funerary plaque, ca. 520–510 b.c.; Archaic, black-figure, Greek, Attic, Terracotta Rogers Fund, 1954 (54.11.5)
    Grave stele of a little girl, ca. 450–440 b.c., Greek, Parian marble Fletcher Fund, 1927 (27.45)
    8000–2000 B.C.
    2000–1000 B.C.
    1000 B.C.–1 A.D.
    1–500 A.D.
    500–1000 A.D.
    1000–1400 A.D.
    1400–1600 A.D.
    1600–1800 A.D.
    1800–1900 A.D.
    1900–Present

    Works of art in order of appearance

    Last Updated: August 19, 2013. Not all works of art in the Museum's collection may be on view on a particular day. For the most accurate location information, please check this page on the day of your visit.

    The Artist's Parents
    1932
    Raphael Soyer (American, born Russia)
    Oil on canvas
    Gift of the artist, 1979 (1979.550)
    Not on view
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    The Crucifixion
    1340s
    Pietro Lorenzetti (Italian, Sienese)
    Tempera on wood, gold ground, with original engaged frame
    Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift and Gwynne Andrews Fund, 2002 (2002.436)
    On view: Gallery 625
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    The Death of Socrates
    1787
    Jacques-Louis David (French)
    Oil on canvas
    Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Collection, Wolfe Fund, 1931 (31.45)
    On view: Gallery 614
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Venus and Adonis
    Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (Italian, Venetian)
    Oil on canvas
    The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.16)
    On view: Gallery 607
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Sheet of Studies with a Woman Lying Ill in Bed, etc.
    ca. 1641/42
    Rembrandt (Rembrandt van Rijn) (Dutch)
    Etching
    Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Bequest of Clifford A. Furst, by exchange (1972.523)
    Not on view
    Drawings and PrintsSecond Floor
    Isfandiyar's Funeral Procession: From the Great Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings)
    1330s
    Iran, probably Tabriz
    Ink, colors, and gold on paper
    Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1933 (33.70)
    Not on view
    Islamic ArtSecond Floor
    Mourners
    ca. 1453
    Paul de Mosselman (Franco-Netherlandish, active in Bourges)
    Alabaster
    Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.386, .389)
    Not on view
    Medieval Art and The CloistersFirst Floor
    The Block
    1971
    Romare Bearden (American)
    Cut and pasted printed, colored and metallic papers, photostats, pencil, ink marker, gouache, watercolor, and pen and ink on Masonite
    Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Shore, 1978 (1978.61.1–6)
    © Romare Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
    Not on view
    Modern and Contemporary ArtSecond Floor
    Island of the Dead
    1880
    Arnold Böcklin (Swiss)
    Oil on wood
    Signed (lower right, on rock): A B
    Reisinger Fund, 1926 (26.90)
    On view: Gallery 800
    European PaintingsSecond Floor
    Funerary plaque
    ca. 520–510 b.c.; Archaic, black-figure
    Greek, Attic
    Terracotta
    Rogers Fund, 1954 (54.11.5)
    On view: Gallery 154
    Greek and Roman ArtSecond Floor
    Grave stele of a little girl
    ca. 450–440 b.c.
    Greek
    Parian marble
    Fletcher Fund, 1927 (27.45)
    On view: Gallery 156
    Greek and Roman ArtFirst Floor and Mezzanine

    © 2011 The Metropolitan Museum of Art