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.
Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2015
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Deccan Plateau of south-central India was a nexus of international trade and home to a series of important, highly cultured Muslim kingdoms. With cultural connections to Iran, Turkey, eastern Africa, and Europe, Deccani art is particularly celebrated for its unmistakable, otherworldly character. This beautifully illustrated catalogue discusses two hundred of the finest Deccan works and includes extraordinary new photographs of the lush landscapes of the Deccan lands.
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2015
On Friday, May 15, the Department of Islamic Art hosted independent scholar and Deccan Heritage Foundation Cofounder George Michell for a Friday Focus lecture entitled "Courtly Arts of the Deccan, the Architectural Setting: Forts, Palaces, Mosques, and Tombs of the Deccan." Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Sultans of Deccan India, 1500–1700: Opulence and Fantasy, this dynamic lecture stretched across place and time, with Michell highlighting architectural connections between the Deccan plateau, Central Asia, and the Middle East.
Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2015
The Department of Islamic Art has over three thousand ceramic objects in its collection, with perhaps the largest corpus of the collection acquired from the Museum's excavations in Nishapur, Iran, during the mid-twentieth century. While the department maintains a fine collection of Safavid and Ottoman ceramics, ceramic work from south Asia is not as well represented. Among these examples of south Asian ceramics, my favorite is an eighteenth-century tile from Multan, in present-day Pakistan (pictured above). In terms of both material and technique, the tile is typical of ceramics from this part of south Asia, as are three similar objects in the collection—an eighteenth-century dish and two late fifteenth-century tiles (2008.461 and 2008.462).
Posted: Thursday, February 5, 2015
The Cloisters museum and gardens has many devotees, but I wonder how many of its visitors know about the Glencairn Museum, located in Bryn Athyn, just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Glencairn, like The Cloisters, is home to an excellent collection of medieval art on view in a building inspired by medieval architecture. As a current Met fellow and former Glencairn fellow, I have had ample opportunity to study the histories of these two marvelous collections, both of which took shape during the early twentieth century. Together they constitute an important chapter in the story of collecting medieval art in the United States, and I am continually impressed by the close relationship between them.
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Havana is a beautiful city that reflects Cuba's complex social, political, and economic history in its distinguished and varied architecture. Although many neighborhoods are gritty and numerous buildings await restoration, the urban fabric is fairly breathtaking.