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Drawings and Prints

Drawings and Prints

The Museum's collection of drawings and prints—one of the most comprehensive and distinguished of its kind in the world—began with a gift of 670 works from Cornelius Vanderbilt, a Museum trustee, in 1880. Today, its vast holdings, notable for an exceptional breadth and depth, comprise more than seventeen thousand drawings, 1.2 million prints, and twelve thousand illustrated books created in Western Europe and America, principally from the fifteenth century to the present.

Now at the Met

Galleys in the Gallery: A Look at a Newly Acquired Drawing

Cabelle Ahn, Volunteer, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014

Louis François Cassas's View of Messina Harbor is a fascinating recent addition to the continuously expanding collection of eighteenth-century drawings in the Department of Drawings and Prints. The pen and wash drawing offers an idyllic view of the main harbor in Messina, Sicily, before the earthquakes that devastated the Calabrian coast in February and March of 1783. This large-format drawing is currently on view in Gallery 690 until April 28 as part of a rotation of drawings and prints from the permanent collection.

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Collecting Inspiration with Supersisters

Liz Zanis, Collections Management Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Published in 1979, the Supersisters trading cards were a playful, informative, and accessible way to spread feminism to younger audiences. The series was inspired by Lois Rich's daughter, an eight-year-old baseball-card collector, who asked why there weren't any pictures of girls on the cards. With a grant from the New York State Education Department, Lois Rich and her sister, Barbara Egerman, contacted five hundred women of achievement and created cards of the first seventy-two to respond.

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A Change of Scenery: New Drawings and Prints in Cleopatra's Needle

Femke Speelberg, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Monday, March 24, 2014

Coinciding with the conservation treatment of the obelisk of Thutmose III in Central Park, the current exhibition Cleopatra's Needle focuses on this important Egyptian icon. Through various works of art from the Museum's encyclopedic collection, as well as some important loans from other institutions and private collectors, the show explores the meanings, functions, and manifestations of obelisks, both in their original context in ancient Egypt and later adaptations in western culture.

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On the Road with Napoleon's Architect

Perrin Stein, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014

Before the ease of cameras and social media, there was still the basic human urge to document our journeys, even if that journey was a work assignment from Napoleon. One exquisite example of such a "carnet de voyage," or travel sketchbook, survives intact from 1811 and was presented to the Museum in 2008 as a gift of the Apollo Circle in honor of Philippe de Montebello.

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Circles of Influence: A Recently Acquired Print

John Byck, Research Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Department of Drawings and Prints houses more than 1.2 million prints, dating from the Middle Ages through the present, and the collection is continually expanding. One recent and interesting addition is a rare print by the fifteenth-century German engraver and goldsmith Israhel van Meckenem depicting six religious scenes in roundels.

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Spectrum Spotlight: Freyda Spira

Lucy Redoglia, Associate Online Community Producer, Digital Media; and Christopher Gorman, Assistant for Administration, Audience Development

Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Brought to you by the Spectrum group, which encourages post-college audiences to experience the Met in new and unexpected ways, this post is the second installment of our new "Spectrum Spotlight" series—bringing you closer to the Met and introducing some of the staff members that make the Museum such a special place. Look for more posts throughout the year, and, of course, please attend Spectrum events!

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Highlights of Gridiron Greats: Vintage Football Cards in the Collection of Jefferson R. Burdick

Freyda Spira, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014

On the occasion of the 2014 Super Bowl—the first ever played in the New York area—the Metropolitan Museum is displaying a selection of vintage football cards from its celebrated Jefferson R. Burdick Collection of printed ephemera. The exhibition Gridiron Greats: Vintage Football Cards in the Collection of Jefferson R. Burdick, on view through February 10, features some 150 football cards printed between 1894 and 1959.

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Now at the Met

A Very Burdick Christmas

Freyda Spira, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints; and Liz Zanis, Collections Management Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Friday, December 20, 2013

Since the establishment of the Print Department in 1916 there has been a clear mission to gather all types of printed material ranging from Rembrandt's magnificent and widely collected etchings to the more ephemeral, which includes, among many others things, American and European trade and calling cards, bookplates, illustrated catalogues, and even greeting cards.

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Comparing Pairs

Perrin Stein, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a comparison is worth at least two thousand.

The exhibition Artists and Amateurs, Etching in Eighteenth-Century France (on view through January 5) offers many thought-provoking pairings illuminating aspects of artistic process and individual style. An etching, which is printed from ink held in sunken lines on a copper plate, can be reworked between printings, resulting in distinct states. Such is the case with a print depicting soldiers trudging through a bleak landscape, off to join their regiment. An extremely rare first state is etched by the hand of Antoine Watteau, renowned painter of fêtes galantes. His delicate sinuous line imbues his figures with a grace more balletic than warlike.

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Living in Style: Five Centuries of Interior Design from the Collection of Drawings and Prints

Femke Speelberg, Assistant Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints

Posted: Monday, July 1, 2013

Now on view (through September 8), the exhibition Living in Style brings together drawings, prints, books, and pieces of furniture from the Museum's collections to illustrate five centuries of interior design, from the Renaissance period through the 1960s. Following a chronological path of development, the show traces changes and continuities in the approach to materials, shapes, colors, and decorations as displayed by the works on paper.

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About this Blog

Now at the Met offers in-depth articles and multimedia features about the Museum's current exhibitions, events, research, announcements, behind-the-scenes activities, and more.