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The Year 1200: A Centennial Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Year 1200: A Centennial Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Hoffman, Konrad
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Thanks to the perseverance and unparalleled expertise of Dr. Florens Deuchler, Dr. Konrad Hoffmann, and their staff, The Year 1200 is one of the most important exhibitions ever to be assembled in the Western Hemisphere. Each of its more than three hundred objects has been chosen from hundreds to explain in the most lucid manner possible not only the period overall but, where applicable, the figure style. This is one of great dignity and corporeality, of nervous energy, of stunning classicality, exemplifying the continual search for the most harmonious way of showing man and his anthropomorphic creations in their full naturalistic stature. Around 1200, for practically the first time since ancient Greek and Roman times, draperies curl and caress the bodies underneath; limbs themselves are proudly and successfully shown as organic entities; strength becomes a thing of muscles rather than size alone; physiques are neither camouflaged nor ignored, but studied and presented to our eyes in an almost overpowering intensity. Faces become truly alive, eyes shine with an inner light, gestures seem to develop an entirely new expressive poetry of their own. Drama is supreme.

Neither Romanesque nor Gothic, nor indeed Transitional, this exciting style is an important artistic manifestation in its own right, a fact recognized up to now by a relatively small group of historians. We hope that this distinguished exhibition itself will become one of the foundation blocks for further study and appreciation of this most fascinating and excellent moment of man's creative history.

Liturgical Fan (Flabellum), Gilt bronze, champlevé enamel, silver, semiprecious stones, glass, gems, gold filigree, cabochons, German
19th century, with minor elements of about 1200
Head of a King, Limestone, French
ca. 1180
Head of a King, Limestone, French
ca. 1230–35
Enthroned Virgin and Child, Oak with traces of polychromy, North French
North French
ca. 1210–20
Seated Figure (Prophet or Apostle), Master of Santa Maria la Bianca  Italian, Marble (Carrara marble) with lead and serpentine inlay, Italian
ca. 1200
Crucifix, Wood with polychromy, North Italian
North Italian
ca. 1200–1220
Relief with the Annunciation, Carrara marble inlaid with serpentine (verde di Prato), Italian
ca. 1180–1200
Capital with Four Heads, Limestone, Italian
ca. 1225–50
The Cloisters Cross, Walrus ivory, British
ca. 1150–60
Plaque with Christ Before the High Priest Caiaphas, Walrus Ivory and paint, British
ca. 1150–75
Relief of the Holy Family, Elephant ivory, British or North French
British or North French
ca. 1160–80
Reliquary Plaque with Christ Blessing, Walrus ivory, German
ca. 1200
Tower Reliquary with Eight Apostles and the Symbols of the Four Evangelists, Bone, gilt copper alloy, wood core, German
ca. 1200–1250
Casket with Erotes and Animals, Bone plaques and ornamental strips over wooden casket with silk lining; copper handle, clasps, lock plate, and nails, Italian or Byzantine
Italian or Byzantine
12th century
Casket with Warriors and Dancers, Elephant ivory and bone; gilded copper mounts, Byzantine
11th century
Equestrian Plaque, Champlevé enamel and glass on gilded copper, French
ca. 1220
Reliquary Casket with Scenes from the Martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket, Gilded silver with niello and a glass cabochon set over a tinted foil, British
ca. 1173–80
Valve of a Mirror Case, Bronze gilt, British
Clasp, Copper alloy, gilding, South Netherlandish
South Netherlandish
ca. 1200
Reliquary of Saint Stephen, silver gilt, copper gilt, semi-precious stones, glass, Mosan
13th century (Saint Stephen); 19th century (base and backboard)
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