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Stories in Features

Cyrus and the Judean Diaspora

Ira Spar, Research Assyriologist, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art

Posted: Friday, July 19, 2013

Facsimile drawing of Cuneiform tablet impressed with two stamp seals: promissory note for dates (obverse)

Toward the end of the first century a.d. Jerusalem lay in ruins, the second temple built by Herod the Great (74/73–4 b.c.) destroyed and ransacked by the Roman army. Meanwhile, in Babylon, scribes continued to copy ancient texts, inscribing some of them on cuneiform tablets made of clay. After the last cuneiform scribe passed to his fate, no one remained who could read or write documents in Babylonian, Assyrian, or Sumerian. In 1893, pioneer archaeologists and explorers digging in Iraq began to uncover vast archives of cuneiform tablets that had been buried for two thousand years. Today, philologists, archaeologists, and historians are able to combine narratives previously known only from the Bible with information gleaned from thousands of historic, literary, religious, and scientific texts, illuminating the world of Nebuchadnezzar, Sennacherib, and Cyrus. The Cyrus Cylinder, now on view at the Met, helps us understand the peoples and policies of the ancient Near East.

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Travel with the Met: Russian Impressions

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013

View of the Volga

I'm back in New York, and I've had a chance to reflect on my first Travel with the Met experience. The trip was truly unforgettable, thanks in part to the hospitality and humor of our Russian hosts and the stoic pride they take in their country.

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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

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

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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Renovating The Cloisters: Maintaining the Vision

Peter Barnet, Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters

Posted: Friday, June 28, 2013

The Cloisters, Early Gothic Hall

"Creating the Cloisters," the spring issue of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin written by curator Timothy B. Husband, is an engaging and nuanced narrative of the early history of The Cloisters. As a complement to that narrative, I'd like to review the more recent gallery renovations and reinstallations that have been undertaken, all guided by the principle of maintaining the integrity of the original architectural vision of The Cloisters.

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Travel with the Met: Wooden Architecture and Mysticism on Kizhi Island

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kizhi Island

Our local guide explained that the first settlers to the Kizhi Island area in the sixteenth century practiced two religions simultaneously: Russian Orthodox Christianity and pre-Christian pagan mysticism.

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New Labels for European Paintings Galleries

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gallery 637 during installation

As part of the installation of the New European Paintings Galleries last month, all of the wall labels were rewritten to reflect recent research.

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Travel with the Met: Yaroslavl

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yaroslavl

Here the Volga River meets the Kotorosl River as seen from the bluffs of Yaroslavl, a picturesque city with a population of 640,000. Decorative plantings in the shape of a bear, the city's emblem, commemorate the 1,003rd anniversary of Yaroslav.

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The Later Legacy of Cyrus the Great

Michael Seymour, Assistant Curator, Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art

Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013

The Cyrus Cylinder

The Cyrus Cylinder, currently on display in the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: Charting a New Empire (June 20–August 4, 2013), is a document of unique historical significance. It records the Persian king Cyrus' conquest of the city of Babylon in 539 b.c., and his proclamation that cults and temples should be restored, their personnel allowed to return from Babylon to their home cities.

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Sublime Embrace:
Concerts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013

Program of the first free concert held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ninety-five years ago the halls of The Metropolitan Museum of Art resounded with the sounds of music, as the first public concert was held within the Museum's galleries.

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Travel with the Met: Backstage at the Bolshoi

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013

Backstage at the Bolshoi

In 1776, while America was starting a revolution, the Russians were building the Bolshoi Theater.

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The Boxer: An Ancient Masterpiece Comes to the Met

Seán Hemingway, Curator, Department of Greek and Roman Art

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013

The Boxer at Rest, from the Museo Nazionale Romano-Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, on view in Gallery 153

Since its discovery on the Quirinal Hill of Rome in 1885 near the ancient Baths of Constantine, the statue Boxer at Rest—currently on view at the Met—has astonished and delighted visitors to the Museo Nazionale Romano as a captivating masterpiece of ancient bronze sculpture.

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Travel with the Met: Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

Vanessa Hagerbaumer, Senior Special Events Officer

Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013

Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow

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.

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Gothic Altarpiece

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013

Madonna and Child with Saints by Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia)  (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena)

Before you can put a Gothic altarpiece together, you first have to know how to take it apart.

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Digitizing the Libraries' Collections: Pictorialist Photography Exhibition Catalogues, 1891–1914

Dan Lipcan, Assistant Museum Librarian, Thomas J. Watson Library; and Malcolm Daniel, Senior Curator, Department of Photographs

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013

Photo-Secession (detail of cover). New York: Photo-Secession, 1905. Thomas J. Watson Library (213.7 P56)

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.

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Featured Publication: German Paintings
in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1350–1600

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department; and Hilary Becker, Administrative Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"German Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1350–1600" exhibition catalogue

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.

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Installing Tiepolo

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013

Installing Tiepolo

How many people does it take to hang a ceiling? How many rigs?

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Final Touches

Keith Christiansen, John Pope-Hennessy Chairman, Department of European Paintings

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Warren Bennett, Associate Conservation Preparator

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).

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Featured Publication:
Photography and the American Civil War

Nadja Hansen, Editorial Assistant, Editorial Department; and Hilary Becker, Administrative Assistant, Editorial Department

Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Photography and the American Civil War" book cover

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."

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This Weekend in Met History: March 17

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2013

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906) | View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph | 13.66

One hundred years ago this weekend, on March 17, 1913, The Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired its first painting by the French Post-Impressionist master Paul Cézanne. The Museum purchased Cézanne's View of the Domaine Saint-Joseph at the groundbreaking International Exhibition of Modern Art, popularly known as the Armory Show.

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Today in Met History: March 1

Aleksandr Gelfand, Former Intern, Museum Archives

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013

The Douglas Mansion at 128 West 14th Street

One hundred and forty years ago today, on March 1, 1873, The Metropolitan Museum of Art signed a lease for the Douglas Mansion, located at 128 West 14th Street in Manhattan. The rapidly expanding museum had outgrown its original location in the Dodworth Building in midtown and was in need of additional gallery space.

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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.

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