Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013
I'm currently traveling as a Museum representative on a Travel with the Met cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg. One of our first stops in Moscow was Saint Basil's Cathedral. Legend has it that Ivan the Terrible ensured that nothing quite like it could be built again . . . by taking out the eyes of the chief architect.
Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Before you can put a Gothic altarpiece together, you first have to know how to take it apart. This is Giovanni di Paolo's polyptych from a church in Cortona, Italy, painted in 1454, en route to its permanent installation in Gallery 626 within the New European Paintings Galleries.
Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013
One of the first projects we undertook upon establishing the Thomas J. Watson Library's digitization initiative a few years ago was a collaboration with the Department of Photographs and its Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library.
Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Just in time to celebrate the opening of the New European Paintings Galleries, Curator Maryan Ainsworth has coauthored a comprehensive guide to the Met's German paintings. The collection, which includes pictures made in the German-speaking lands (including Austria and Switzerland) from 1350 to 1600, constitutes the largest and most comprehensive group in an American museum today. Comprising major examples by the towering figures of the German Renaissance—Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Hans Holbein the Younger—and many by lesser masters, the collection has grown slowly but steadily from the first major acquisitions in 1871 to the most recent in 2011; it now numbers seventy-two works, presented here in sixty-three entries.
Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013
Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The last work installed for the New European Paintings Galleries the afternoon before the opening was the famous birth salver created in 1449 for Lorenzo de' Medici (known to later generations simply as Lorenzo the Magnificent). It's in Gallery 604. To make the final meticulous retouching of the mount, the installer, Warren Bennett, had to insert his head into the case, beneath the birth tray. I was struck by the very Neapolitan baroque quality of the image of his head—as though detached, John-the-Baptist fashion, by the "blade" of the salver! I couldn't help but snap a picture. Just look at the spot of light on the cranium: pure Mattia Preti!
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013
The Cloisters marks its seventy-fifth anniversary this year. Since its opening on May 14, 1938, it has become a treasured landmark, celebrated for both its extraordinary setting and its world-class collection of medieval art and architecture. Located in Fort Tryon Park, a verdant oasis on the northern tip of Manhattan, the building commands sweeping views of the Hudson River and the towering Palisades on the river's opposite bank. The quiet of the lush gardens and the magnificence of the historic architecture create an ideal setting for the outstanding collection within.
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Photography was invented just twenty years before the American Civil War. In many ways the war—its documentation, its soldiers, its battlefields—was the arena of the camera's debut in America. "The medium of photography was very young at the time the war began but it quickly emerged into the medium it is today," says Jeff Rosenheim, curator of the current exhibition Photography and the American Civil War (on view through September 2), and author of its accompanying catalogue. "I think that we are where we are in photographic history, in cultural history, because of what happened during the Civil War . . . it's the crucible of American history. The war changed the idea of what individual freedom meant; we abolished slavery, we unified our country, we did all those things, but with some really interesting new tools, one of which was photography."
Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Yesterday was an exciting and historic moment for the Met, as we announced the gift of Leonard Lauder's unrivaled collection of seventy-eight Cubist paintings to the Museum. This is among the greatest contributions to the Metropolitan in the course of its 143-year evolution, in the same league as gifts from J.P. Morgan, Louisine and H.O. Havemeyer, Benjamin Altman, Robert Lehman, Charles and Jayne Wrightsman, and Walter Annenberg—truly transformative collections that have come to the Met.
Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013
In recent weeks, you may have read about a lawsuit filed by one of the Metropolitan Museum's Fifth Avenue neighbors. It inaccurately alleges that the Met deceives the public by not making its long-standing pay-what-you-wish admission policy clear enough, and asserts that we are violating a nineteenth-century New York State law that once mandated that we be free to the public. This was followed by a second legal action, filed by the same law firm, seeking monetary damages.