Objects conservators provide for the conservation of three-dimensional works of art in the Museum's collections. Staff members also provide conservation support on a number of archaeological excavations, including those sponsored by the Museum, as well as on other international projects.
Posted: Thursday, December 24, 2015
One of the goals of the MediaLab is to explore the use of design and emerging technologies to improve the museum experience. Projection mapping, also known as spatial augmented reality, is a technology that can turn physical objects and buildings into a surface for projected light. This technique creates an enhanced experience for the audience by combining digital information with real objects. While the MediaLab was exploring how projection mapping could be used in the Museum, an opportunity arose to collaborate with the Department of Egyptian Art.
Posted: Monday, November 30, 2015
We recently completed the conservation of a stained-glass window by French artist Valentin Bousch (1514–1541), who is considered to be one of the most important and innovative artists working in stained glass in the early sixteenth century. Bousch is widely known for his painterly style and virtuoso skill as a glass cutter. The goal of our treatment was to remove the numerous disfiguring lead repairs that detracted from the artist's original aesthetic.
Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2015
During the early stages of preparing for the exhibition Kongo: Power and Majesty, a team of conservators and scientists began a technical investigation of the large power figures known as Mangaaka, which were created in the Chiloango River Region on the Loango Coast during the second half of the nineteenth century. The initial focus of the investigation was the materials and methods of construction of our own Mangaaka, but shortly thereafter—through collaboration with a number of American and European museums and individuals whose collections house these figures—the study expanded to include a majority of the other fourteen Mangaaka power figures now on view in the exhibition.
Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2015
Year after year, letters from kids around the world flood into the Met. Some curious kids send us their most pressing questions, like what we would save in an emergency, or how many works of art do we have in the entire Museum. Others send in their completed Kids Q&A guides, or get inspired by E. L. Konigsburg's book The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and tell us where they would hide if they ran away to the Met.
Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2015
As conservators and conservation scientists, we are responsible for the technical examination of works of art here at the Met. When Matt Saba, an Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Islamic Art, asked us to work with him to investigate the original function and decoration of a tenth-century relief panel (fig.1), we were thrilled to undertake the necessary detective work. As a result of our investigation, we learned that the panel was once part of an architectural element, but also that the partially surviving polychrome decoration was applied after the panel was removed from its original context and repurposed.
Posted: Friday, June 5, 2015
During the earliest stages of conceptualizing the Sacred Traditions of the Himalayas exhibition, on view through June 14, I went through the Metropolitan Museum's holdings and came across a stunning body of jewelry that came to the collection in 1915. As the Department of Asian Art is celebrating its centennial this year, I was excited to have the opportunity to present the very first Himalayan works to come into our collection—the first of many works acquired beginning exactly one hundred years ago.
Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015
Archaeological objects and works of art in museum collections are not only treasured for their aesthetic qualities, but are also repositories of invaluable information, often concealed at a first sight, about the civilizations that created them. Among the many beautiful pieces in the collection of the Met's Department of Egyptian Art, it is interesting to note one modest stone fragment (fig.1), the scientific investigation of which has provided a clue that could solve a long-time debate among Egyptologists and historians of technologies: the use of high-performance abrasives.
Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
I am sometimes met with raised eyebrows when I tell friends that part of what I do here at the Met is research the permanent collection of the Department of Islamic Art. After all, the collection is world famous, and in the century since its formation numerous experts have dedicated time and energy to its care. What more is there to research? One of the joys of working with complex artifacts, however, is that there is often more to be discovered, even if the object is well known and has been carefully documented and described in the past. New ways of looking at art emerge as the tools that curators and conservators have at their disposal become increasingly sophisticated, and, because the field of art history itself is always evolving, the questions that specialists ask of objects also change over time.
Posted: Tuesday, May 5, 2015
In 2012, this imposing Bhairava's mask came to the Museum as a part of an important donation from The Zimmerman Family Collection, and it is now on display in the newly renovated gallery 252. The sixteenth-century gilt and polychrome copper mask of Bhairava from Nepal had a significant loss to its appearance—its right ear was missing, and its attribute, a large copper pendant earring for the left ear, had been used as a substitute.
Posted: Friday, February 6, 2015
Looking closely at historical artifacts is one of the chief privileges and joys of being an art conservator, and I am thrilled to share with you a close look at one of the extraordinary objects currently on view in the exhibition Sacred Traditions of the Himalayas. While this ritual blade is immediately striking in its sinuous form and elaborate decoration, closer examination reveals an inspiring display of technical skill and master artistry.