Posted: Tuesday, February 3, 2015
During several visits to the recent exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, I marveled at how the artist's inventive compositions guided my eyes through the dramatic, active scenes these artworks portray. The many fantastic details which augment each narrative rewarded repeated viewing and inspired a sense of awe for the unity of effort required to plan and create such massive, intricate images. At times I felt a bit overwhelmed by the immensity of the tapestries—all but one of them loaned from European museums and private collections—and wondered about the tremendous physical labor it must have taken to bring them to New York and install them here at the Metropolitan Museum.
Posted: Tuesday, January 6, 2015
This Sunday, January 11, will be the final day to visit the exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry before its three-month run draws to a close. On January 12, Museum staff, observed by lenders' couriers, will begin to dismantle the displays and pack away the tapestries, paintings, drawings, and prints, ready to dispatch them back to their generous home collections.
Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Working on a major exhibition can feel like cooking a very elaborate meal: the preparation takes much longer than the actual event. Many of these preparations—especially conservation efforts—go unnoticed, although the result is there for any visitor to the show to see. While working on Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, I felt that four of the drawings selected for the show would benefit from conservation treatment before going on view in our galleries. Because none of these sheets is owned by the Metropolitan Museum, I had to rely on the willingness of curators and conservators abroad, as well as that of a private collector in New York, to consider my request.
Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Pieter Coecke van Aelst was a highly skilled and accomplished panel painter, yet many art historians associate him with a body of pedestrian paintings. Maryan Ainsworth, curator in the Department of European Paintings and co-curator of Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, examined this disparity through her close study of his painted works. I recently spoke with Maryan about Coecke's paintings and why the seven panel paintings on display in the exhibition are worthy of special attention.
Posted: Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Posted: Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Nadine Orenstein, curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints and a co-curator of Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, selected the printed works on display in the exhibition. Interestingly, Pieter Coecke van Aelst was not a printmaker, though he published several important printed books. I recently spoke with Nadine about Coecke's unusual print projects and how they reflect his unique style.
Posted: Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Around 1532–4, Pieter Coecke van Aelst designed a seven-piece tapestry series depicting the seven deadly sins, with one panel per sin: Pride, Avarice, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Anger, and Sloth. The Museum is lucky enough to have in its collection one edition of the Gluttony tapestry, which is now on display in the exhibition Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry. Since 2012, the staff of the Metropolitan Museum's Department of Textile Conservation has been preparing the tapestry for display by carrying out technical examinations and conservation treatments on the piece.
Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Best-selling author, internationally renowned blogger, and marketing guru Seth Godin will join Elizabeth Cleland, the chief curator of Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, for a discussion about the exceedingly entrepreneurial Pieter Coecke van Aelst on December 1 at 6:00 p.m. in the Museum's Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium. This conversation is part of the Museum's ongoing SPARK Series of talks. Julie Burstein, SPARK host, author, and Peabody Award–winning creator of public radio's Studio 360, will guide the evening's discussion. I recently spoke with Burstein about SPARK and why she decided to introduce Seth Godin to Pieter Coecke.
Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2014