Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2015
In the past few weeks, my colleagues have shared tales from their summer travels. This past summer, I went to France to visit several spectacular sites of Romanesque art and architecture with a group of fellow medieval-art historians.
Posted: Thursday, October 29, 2015
In recent weeks, my colleagues have shared tales from their summer travels. My trip took me to Paris, where I made excursions to several medieval monuments that are experiencing ongoing restoration work, which provides unusual access to see them up close. (Scaffolds are a good thing!) The most exciting visit was to Notre-Dame de Reims, or Reims Cathedral, in the heart of the Champagne region. Not only is it one of the canonic Gothic cathedrals of the thirteenth century, but it is also the subject of the dissertation that I completed some years ago.
Posted: Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Look at any major early Islamic or late Antique monument, or read any description of those that are no longer standing, and you will likely encounter the medium of glass. Translucent, colorful, and ever so fragile, people in the Near Eastern world prized this substance during ancient and medieval times, where it was used in a variety of ways to add dazzle to the fanciest buildings of the day. On view through January 3, 2016, the exhibition Pattern, Color, Light: Architectural Ornament from the Near East (500–1000) explores the importance of the oft-forgotten glass architectural ornaments of early Islamic buildings.
Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2015
Does anyone else remember the first day back at grade school after summer vacation? My teachers often had the class write an essay detailing what they did over the course of the summer. In the next few posts, several staff members at The Cloisters will present the ways in which we spent our time at work and play this summer. My story begins on seas once crossed by Viking longships.
Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2015
One of the most important reasons for presenting exhibitions is their potential to bring together objects that are usually not seen side by side. Major exhibitions often draw from dozens of collections around the world, representing years of planning and logistics aimed at uniting the works of an artist or of a particular historical period under the same roof. Even within individual collections, space constraints and traditions of display mean that there are groups of objects that are rarely seen together. One aim of the current show in the Department of Islamic Art, Pattern, Color, Light: Architectural Ornament in the Near East (500–1000), is precisely that: to unite several groups of objects that are usually housed in separate storerooms, but that tell an interesting story when placed side by side.
Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
The exhibition Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends focuses on images of the artist's closest friends and members of his artistic circle. In his portraits of these progressive and creative personalities—many of which were not commissioned—Sargent was able to take more risks, creating images that are more dynamic, esoteric, and provocative than his commissioned works. I sat down with our exhibition designer, Brian Butterfield, to talk about how he conveyed some of these themes in the design of the exhibition. Brian joined the Met staff in November 2014, and brought a dynamic conceptual vision to the design of the show and a fresh approach to imagining the vast exhibition space of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Exhibition Hall (gallery 999).
Posted: Wednesday, July 22, 2015
It was the English King Edward I who finally managed to wrestle a yoke onto the Welsh in 1284. Realizing that one of the great flaws of previous forays into the Welsh territories had been the inability to maintain those footholds, Edward used Wales's great coastline against it.
Posted: Monday, July 20, 2015
As a recent college graduate and current summer intern in the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Islamic Art, the past weeks have flown by, filled with new and exciting experiences, projects, and opportunities. Among these, I have been fortunate enough to observe some of the curation and the full installation of the exhibition Pattern, Color, Light: Architectural Ornament in the Near East (500–1000), now on view through October 25 in The Hagop Kevorkian Fund Special Exhibitions Gallery (gallery 458). This exhibition highlights architectural ornament from Near Eastern monuments, which exist today in fragmented form from numerous walls, ceilings, and floors. These fragments and their stylistic motifs crossed rival empires and illuminate common aesthetic trends of the period from 500 to 1000 A.D. The Department of Islamic Art started working on this exhibition about nine months ago, but by witnessing the final step of the process—the installation—I have a new appreciation and understanding of what it takes to coordinate a production such as this.
Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2015
For its ranks of anonymous workers, the Industrial Revolution brought its share of dismal labor conditions and horrific accidents. Nonetheless, the wealth it generated breathed new life into Wales, resulting in some ambitious new homes, from the neo-Romanesque pile of Penrhyn Castle, which we visited, to the elegant Bodnant Garden.
Posted: Thursday, July 16, 2015
Our discovery of Wales started in Cardiff, which is a treat to visit. One of the highlights of our trip was an after-hours tour of the enviable collection of the National Museum Wales, led by its eloquent Keeper of Art Andrew Renton, but in terms of sheer ostentation, Cardiff Castle is hard to beat.