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Now at the Met with the Director - March 2009

Museum Director Thomas P. Campbell takes us on a tour of the Museum's March 2009 shows. Spanning the ages, and the Eastern Hemisphere, exhibitions range from fourteenth-century Ming China, to West Asia in the second millennium BC, to Renaissance and nineteenth-century Europe, to early twentieth-century France. With them, the Museum celebrates creativity and cultural growth in all of its forms, from the bright works of Pierre Bonard, precursors to Abstract Expressionism, and the exquisite European drawings from the collection of Jean Bonna, to the rich variety of art forms produced during China's celebrated Ming Dynasty, and the objects born of a fusion of ancient styles during the multicultural era of Babylon.

Learn more about Pierre Bonard: The Late Interiors:

Learn more about Jean Bonna's rich collection of works on paper:

Learn more about Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance:

Learn more about Beyond Babylon:

Learn more about "It's Time We Met":


Produced and directed by Chris Noey.

Camera: Wayne de la Roche | Editor: Kate Farrell | Production Assistants: Jessica Glass, Angela Kim


Thomas Campbell: Greetings. I'm Thomas Campbell, the Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I'd like to tell you a little bit about the rich offerings we have on in the Met's galleries at the moment—March 2009.

I'm standing in the Lehman Wing, which is where we have an exhibition: Pierre Bonnard: The Late Interiors, the first exhibition to focus entirely on Bonnard's radiant late interiors and still-life paintings. The artist created these dazzling works over extended periods of time by applying layer after layer of paint in rich colors. In the end, they are as much a reflection of memory and emotion as direct observation, and they anticipate the works of the Abstract Expressionist artists of subsequent years. Pierre Bonnard runs through April 19.

Raphael to Renoir is the first comprehensive showing of European Old Master and nineteenth-century drawings from the distinguished Swiss collection of Jean Bonna, on view at the Met through April the twenty-sixth. Mr. Bonna has amassed one of the finest drawing collections in our time, and this is a rare opportunity to see one hundred and twenty of his works, by both renowned and lesser-known artists. The collection ranges from works by Renaissance masters, such as Carpaccio and Raphael, to Baroque masters, including Canaletto, Rembrandt, and Lorrain, to exquisite works by masters of the Rococo era, such as Watteau, Boucher, and Fragonard, all the way to the early modern period, with works by Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Seurat. Some are topographical, some are preparatory sketches for paintings and tapestries—such as this exquisite line drawing by Raphael—and others were created as an end in themselves. This really is a show with something for everyone.

The Chinese word ming translates as "brilliant," so it's no surprise that Arts of the Ming Dynasty: China's Age of Brilliance, on view through September the thirteenth, displays a rich diversity of artworks from the celebrated and prosperous Ming dynasty, which ran from the mid-fourteenth through the mid-seventeenth century. One of the true knockouts in the show is Xie Huan's Elegant Gathering in the Apricot Garden, from about 1437, showing nine dignitaries in the garden of a high-ranking scholar, looking at paintings and calligraphy, composing poetry, and playing chess. It's an extraordinary document of who these people were, and who they aspired to be. Across the way is a watercolor of plum blossoms covered with snow, a haunting work that is almost abstract in its treatment of line and color.

Three hundred and fifty extraordinary works created in the second millennium B.C. for royal palaces, temples, and tombs, from Mesopotamia, Syria, and Anatolia to Cyprus, Egypt, and the Aegean, comprise the exhibition Beyond Babylon. These objects of high artistry, sometimes displaying an extraordinary fusion of cultural styles, reflect the sophisticated trade network and the precious materials that were exchanged at the time through this part of the world. The exhibition will be on view through March the fifteenth.

The Metropolitan welcomes more than four and a half million visitors a year from around the world who come to visit exhibitions like these, or to visit our collections­—some two million pieces spanning five millennia. Thousands of people take photographs of these works of art, or of themselves, in the galleries and post them on the free website Flickr. We recently asked some of these photographers if we could use their images as the basis of a new campaign to promote the richness of our collections and the variety of the programs we offer here. We're calling the campaign "It's Time We Met", and here are some of the inspired and often humorous views created by our public of their friends and family in the galleries.

We encourage you to visit the Metropolitan Museum whenever you can to experience our exhibitions, our collections, and our programs firsthand. Thank you.

Director's Message (10)