Detail, recto, Abraham Entertaining the Angels from Scenes from the Lives of Abraham and Isaac (41.100.57e)

"Abraham Entertaining the Angels" from Scenes from the Lives of Abraham and Isaac (detail), ca. 1600. Flemish. Wool, silk, silver-gilt thread. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of George Blumenthal, 1941 (41.100.57e)

Exhibition Objects

Examining Opulence

A Set of Renaissance Tapestry Cushions

August 4, 2014–January 18, 2015

Purchase advance tickets to avoid waiting in admission lines. Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

Art and science meet as Examining Opulence unveils the roles of museum curators and conservators in the investigation, conservation, and decoding of art objects. The installation provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the fascinating and indispensable work necessary to prepare objects for display by exploring the different questions curators and conservators pose when presented with six luxurious, late Renaissance tapestry-woven cushion covers. Never-before-seen images of these objects, captured with microscopes and X-ray technologies, will provide visitors with an intimate glimpse of the sumptuous materials, such as silk and gilded threads, that comprise the pieces. The rarely seen and complex backs of these tapestries, scarcely ever exposed to sunlight and therefore more colorful than their fronts, will also be on view.

Related Exhibition

This exhibition is intended to complement Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry (October 8, 2014–January 11, 2015).

Read related blog posts on Now at the Met, and see a related Pinterest board managed by Conservator Cristina Balloffet Carr.