Showing posts with label metropolitan museum of art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label metropolitan museum of art. Show all posts

31.1.24

Rediscovering "Bélizaire and the Frey Children": A Tale of Resilience in Southern Art

Hey, y’all. I’m in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the American Wing. Y’all — it’s a moment of rediscovery for this New Orleanian! I’m standing before the once-lost-now-found “Bélizaire and the Frey Children,” a significant artwork that was hidden in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s storage for ages.

🎨 Painted circa 1837 by Jacques Guillaume Lucien Amans, this portrait captures an upper-class New Orleans family before the Civil War and includes Bélizaire, an enslaved Afro-Creole teenager — he was perhaps fifteen year’s old. What’s truly remarkable is Bélizaire’s inclusion in the Frey family portrait — a rare depiction of a person of color in Southern art of that era.
The painting’s history is as haunting as it is fascinating. After the Spanish flu struck, tragically claiming the lives of the three Frey children, Bélizaire’s image was deliberately erased from the painting, likely by a Frey family member. Yet, his presence lingered like a ghostly outline, defying his erasure.
🔍 Thanks to the efforts of historian Katy Morlas Shannon and art collector Jeremy K. Simien, Bélizaire’s story has been uncovered and his image restored. This painting not only offers a glimpse into the complex world of 19th-century New Orleans but also symbolizes resilience against historical erasure.
🖼️ “Bélizaire and the Frey Children” stands as a testament to our complicated history and the enduring spirit of those who were once overlooked. It’s a haunting yet beautiful reminder of our past.

20.12.23

Medieval Majesty: Exploring the Intricacies of 11th Century Ivory Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Journey through the Metropolitan Museum's medieval wing with an insightful look at a unique 11th-century ivory carving of Christ 'The Door' and a plaque featuring the Four Evangelists, unveiling the rich tapestry of Byzantine, Islamic, and Norman art influences.

Christ the Door
I find myself in the medieval wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, standing before an exquisite ivory carving of Christ. This piece, likely intended as a book plate for an illuminated manuscript, originates from the 11th century CE. During this period, particularly in Southern Italy, there was a flourishing of art influenced by a confluence of diverse cultures — Byzantine, Islamic, and Norman, to name a few.


Such ivory works were integral to the trade networks linking the Islamic world and other regions across the Arab world, serving as a testament to the cultural intersections at the Mediterranean crossroads. This is evident in the variety of objects within this display case, all crafted from ivory, symbolizing this rich cultural exchange.

Interestingly, this particular depiction of Christ is unique. He is shown holding the gospel book, referencing a passage from the Gospel of John, Chapter 10: ‘I Am the Door.’ It’s a fascinating symbolic choice, as Christ is not commonly portrayed as a door, despite the theological significance of the metaphor — representing the doorway to salvation. This element adds a distinctive layer to this already remarkable artifact.

The Four Evangelists
In the same display of ivory works, I stumbled upon another mesmerizing piece of history - an ivory plaque dating back to around 1050 CE. By the way — in the following video, I apologize for the audio quality; the museum is busy today!

🛡️ A Journey Through History at The Met’s Arms and Armor Gallery 🏰

Explore medieval combat and chivalry at The Met's Arms and Armor Gallery. Discover the impact of 'dexterous' warriors and the art of jousting.
 

I’m up early this morning, y’all. Today’s adventure brought me to the awe-inspiring arms and armor room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Here, amidst the relics of the Middle Ages, I found myself pondering the art of warfare and chivalry.










From the magnificent European suits of armor to the exquisite samurai gear of Japan’s Edo period, the collection is a vivid tapestry of history and culture. 🗡️🎎

29.11.23

Exploring Ancient Herms: A Visit to the Met Museum and Discovering Timeless Symbols

Join me on a journey through the Met Museum, exploring ancient herms and uncovering the enduring influence of these fascinating artifacts.

🏛️ Spent the day exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and guess what caught my eye? Herms! These ancient pillars featured the busts of gods like Hermes and marked roads, entrances, and even doorways in the ancient world. Swipe left to see the striking example I found!
🚶‍♂️Why Hermes? He’s not just any god; he’s the patron saint of travelers and the psychopomp ferrying souls to the afterlife. Talk about multitasking! Hermes is also the god of commerce. These pillars were more than just art; they were divine guideposts for ancient society.

🚄 Flashback to earlier this summer when I was admiring the statue of Hermes perched atop Grand Central Station. Mind. Blown. 🤯 I suddenly realized that Grand Central is like a modern-day herm! It’s a transit hub guiding travelers and bustling with shops and eateries, making it a center of commerce, too.

🔁 The ancient and the modern worlds aren’t as far apart as we often think. It’s awe-inspiring to see that the symbolism of herms and Hermes has traveled through time, just like the travelers they protect and guide.

🌟 So next time you pass through Grand Central or another bustling hub, maybe take a moment to appreciate the millennia of human history that continue to resonate in our daily lives. Who knows what other timeless symbols are around us, quietly shaping our world?

18.7.23

Admiring Saint Catherine of Alexandria: A 16th Century Italian Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Join me on a journey through time, appreciating a 16th-century Italian sculpture of the Christian martyr, Catherine of Alexandria, on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


In the heart of New York City lies a treasure trove of artistic marvels — the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Today, my admiration was captured by an exquisite 16th-century Italian sculpture depicting Catherine of Alexandria, a revered Christian martyr from the third century.
Saint Catherine of Alexandria,
Cristoforo Solari, Italian, ca. 1514-24

The saint stands regal, and she has on her side the instrument of her martyrdom — a wheel in which she was tied to and tortured. But — wait, look at her feet — it is the head of the emperor. So — even in death, Christianity wins — for she has defeated paganism. What?!

The detailed portrayal of Saint Catherine evokes her timeless courage and spiritual strength. Originally from Egypt, Catherine's legacy extends beyond geographical and temporal boundaries, continuing to inspire individuals across centuries.

Each stroke, each detailed carving in this Italian masterpiece, resonates with the passion of an artist, reverently capturing the essence of the saint. It is a tangible connection to a time gone by, a bridge between the present and the past.

As I stood there, taking in the silent beauty of this sculpture, I couldn't help but wonder about the varied art forms that touch our hearts. What is your favorite work of art? In its many manifestations, art connects us, narrates past stories, and provokes introspection. Let's continue this journey of art appreciation together, exploring and rediscovering the relics of history.

17.7.23

Teaching the Mythological Marvel: Perseus and Medusa - A Tale of Heroism, Divine Intervention, and Greek Mythology for the Middle and High School Classroom

Embark on a journey through Greek mythology as you delve into the captivating tale of Perseus and his winged steed, Pegasus. The story breaks through the page — and it is the stuff of art and culture. For example, the Metropolitan Museum of Art provides a mesmerizing glimpse into this ancient myth with its iconic sculpture, Perseus with the Head of Medusa. Join us as we explore the narrative intricacies of this masterpiece and unlock the secrets of Perseus's triumph over the formidable Medusa.
The Argive hero Perseus pervades myth, art, and literature.
The Narrative Enigma: Perseus and Medusa Sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Immerse yourself in the splendor of the European Sculpture Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Amidst the masterpieces, one statue stands out with its compelling storytelling ability—the Perseus with the Head of Medusa. Discover the striking connection between this sculpture and Canova's replica of Perseus in the Vatican museums, which elegantly borrows from the grace of Apollo Belvedere.

A Captivating Contrast: Canova vs. Caravaggio - Beauty and Horror in Sculpture
Dive into the enthralling juxtaposition between Canova's Perseus and Caravaggio's Medusa's Head. While Caravaggio's interpretation leans towards horrific grandeur, Canova's sculpture opts for subtle beauty and triumphant serenity. Explore the intricate details that distinguish the two artistic approaches, including Canova's subtle depiction of snakes on Medusa's brow.

The Hero's Quest: Perseus's Epic Adventure

Unravel the captivating tale of Perseus, the valiant son of Zeus, and his heroic quest to slay the mortal Gorgon, Medusa. Discover the harrowing circumstances that led Perseus to undertake this perilous mission, from being locked in a chest as a child to seeking revenge against Polydectes, his mother's treacherous husband. Journey alongside Perseus as he ventures to the edge of the world in pursuit of his formidable foe.

Divine Assistance: Gods, Goddesses, and Nymph Sisters
Explore the intricate web of divine intervention that guided Perseus on his quest. Uncover the gods and goddesses who lent their aid, including Athena, who bestowed him with a shield, and Hermes, who granted him a scimitar. Delve into the critical role played by the Graeae, the nymph sisters who provided invaluable assistance on his treacherous path.

Triumph over the Gorgon: Perseus's Confrontation with Medusa
Witness the climactic battle as Perseus faces Medusa, armed with his shield, scimitar, cape of invisibility, and winged sandals. Learn Perseus's crucial tactic to avoid Medusa's deadly gaze and transform her into stone. Discover the astonishing outcome of their encounter, as Pegasus, the legendary winged horse, emerges from Medusa's severed head.

Teach the Argive Hero Perseus with a Three-Day Lesson
Discover Mythology Resources from Stones of Erasmus
Engage Your Classroom with Three-Day English Language Arts Lesson
Ignite your students' imagination and passion for Greek mythology with a meticulously designed three-day English Language Arts Lesson. Dive deep with a unit on the hero's journey, divine intervention, heroism, conflict, and the mythical creatures that populate the ancient Greek world. This resource is specifically tailored for distance learning, providing Google Apps, PDF, and Easel Activities and Assessments (exclusive to Teachers Pay Teachers) compatible with Google Classroom and other learning management platforms.

Unlock the Power of Greek Mythology with Our Resource
Our comprehensive resource package is aligned with Common Core Standards, making it a valuable addition to your curriculum. Featuring teacher's notes, a three-day lesson calendar, engaging activities, and assessment tools, this resource ensures an immersive and educational experience for your students. Foster critical thinking and literary analysis as you explore the representation of Perseus and Medusa in different artistic mediums.

Unleash the Potential of Greek Mythology in Your Classroom
Introduce your students to the fascinating world of Greek mythology through our engaging and thought-provoking educational resource. Perfect for middle and high school students, this resource can be seamlessly integrated into an English Language Arts Mythology unit or as a standalone lesson. Combine it with other myth-related materials to create a comprehensive exploration of ancient Greek culture and storytelling.

Unearth the Mysteries of Greek Mythology Today!
Take advantage of this unique opportunity to bring the mesmerizing tales of Perseus, Medusa, and other mythological figures to life in your classroom. Equip your students with the knowledge and analytical skills to appreciate these captivating stories' timeless beauty and significance. Dive into the realm of Greek mythology and watch your students' imaginations soar!

For more information and to access our educational resources, please visit Stones of Erasmus on Teachers Pay Teachers, and other educational content sites.

15.7.23

Unearthing Mysteries: An Encounter with Fortuna at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A Byzantine Tale of Civilization and Fate at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Where history meets artistry.

I am standing amidst the breathtaking expanse of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Amid the myriad of artifacts and art pieces, I find myself drawn to an artifact of particular intrigue. At first glance, it may not command your immediate attention, but I assure you, its narrative is as grand as any. It's a captivating statuette hailing from the Byzantine era, bearing the likeness of a Roman goddess: Fortuna, also known as Tyche.
Statuette of the Personification of a City, Copper alloy, Late Roman or Byzantine
Fortuna (Tyche), Late Roman
or Byzantine ca. 300-500 C.E.

Upon closer inspection, you begin to notice the details etched into this statuette that elevate it from a simple representation of a goddess to a profound symbol of historical narrative. A distinguishing feature of Fortuna is her sculptural headdress, ingeniously designed to mimic a city-like fortress, replete with a gate, and walls to fortify it. The statuette portrays her with this sculptural motif of a city perched atop her head — a poignant indication of the goddess's authority and influence.

But, the statuette holds more in its petite form. Cradled in Fortuna's hand is a cornucopia - a classic emblem of abundance and prosperity. This combination, a city upon her head and a symbol of prosperity in her hand, is powerful. It's a juxtaposition that beautifully ties together the themes of urban society and fortune.

The statuette isn't merely an exquisite work of art; it's a vessel, carrying layers of symbolism and a profound narrative within it. Fortuna, adorned in her cityscape headdress, seated on a throne, paints a picture of the intricate relationship between chance or fortune and the development of civilization. It's a compelling reminder of how the evolution of societies has always been tied to the capricious hands of fate.

So, it isn't just a 'cool little statuette' - it's a piece of history, a symbol of societal evolution, and a testament to the intricate craftsmanship of the Byzantine era. It's the embodiment of the idea that every artifact carries a tale, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be told. Take a moment to admire this extraordinary piece of history and let Fortuna's tale unfold.

12.7.23

Resurrecting Adam: Tullio Lombardo's Masterpiece Restored


Located within the world-renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art stands an exceptional sculpture that exemplifies the brilliance of the Venetian artist, Tullio Lombardo. His interpretation of Adam, a pivotal figure from the Genesis story, is a masterpiece that testifies to the artist's unique sculpting style and uncanny understanding of the human form.

Marveling at Tullio Lombardo's Young Warrior: A Journey into Late 15th Century Venetian Art


Tucked into a portion of the east side of Central Park in New York City, nestled among a myriad of remarkable artifacts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, stands a profound example of late 15th-century Venetian art. This remarkable piece is a marble sculpture of a young warrior by Tullio Lombardo, a master of the Italian Renaissance from Venice. The immersive experience of admiring this piece face-to-face truly transcends the ordinary museum visit.

7.7.23

Exploring Artistic Marvels: Unveiling the Spinario at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I’m at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and admiring a 16th-century copy of a bronze sculpture from an ancient work now held at the Capitoline Museum in Rome. It’s called the Spinario and it depicts a youth pulling a thorn out of his foot.
Exploring art's timelessness at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, captivated by the Spinario—a 16th-century replica of a poignant ancient masterpiece, depicting a youth's tender act of self-care.

22.1.23

Celebrating the Lunar New Year of the Rabbit: On an Outing to the Metropolitan Museum of Art

In this post, I write about how I celebrated Lunar New Year and saw a rabbit, listened to a Mandarin-speaking docent talk about silver sculptures of the Buddha and watched an interactive dragon dance performance in the Great Hall.
A blue dragon dances in line at the Great Hall in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
A dragon dancer joins the line in the Great Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 
A troupe of dragon dancers from the Chinese Center on Long Island get ready to perform.
Dragon Dancers
from Long Island
As we said goodbye to one year and welcomed another, I celebrated Lunar New Year with @juky_chen. From stunning works of art depicting classic examples of the rabbit to drums and a dragon 🐲 dance, it was a truly unique experience that I’ll never forget.

My journey began with exploring some incredible pieces on display of porcelain and jade works depicting the rabbit. In galleries 208 and 211, a Mandarin-speaking docent spoke about different sculptures of the Buddha carved out of silver. Only sixteen examples of this Buddha exist, and the museum owns two. The highlight for me was seeing firsthand how much detail went into each item — something that can get lost in photographs or videos. It made me appreciate more just how much work went into creating them!
A Metropolitan Museum of Art docent talks about a sculpture of Buddha in gallery 208 and 211.
A museum docent talks about a
16th-century Buddha sculpture from China.

Next up were several interactive exhibits focusing on different aspects of Lunar New Year celebrations, including the dragon dance in the Great Hall, kids dressed traditionally, music performances, and much more. It felt like being part of something special as the museum filled with festive joy while everyone got involved in what they saw before them — all while learning more about this important holiday’s cultural background.

Finally, I ended my day by visiting the gift shop, where I found many items related to Lunar New Year festivities, such as fans, banners for decoration, and all sorts of memorabilia perfect for taking home as souvenirs or decorations for future years' celebrations!
A Met Teen volunteers for the 2023 Lunar New Year event.
Overall it had been an unforgettable day full of discoveries that will stay with me forever — it reminded me why museums are so important: without their presence, these precious memories would disappear over time, leaving us none wiser than when we arrived!

14.7.22

Aesthetic Thursday: "You Got Color, Girl?" Chroma Exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

In this post, I recount a recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where I saw dozens of color reconstructions of ancient Greek and Roman works of art. Simply fabulous.
Greig poses in front of a bust of a youthful Marcus Aurelius.
Greig poses in front of a young Marcus Aurelius in the
Ancient Greek and Roman wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Bust of Youthful Marcus Aurelius
Marble head of the youthful
Marcus Aurelius ca. C.E. 138.
You got some color, girl? I knew ancient sculptures — especially those from Greece and Rome — were once cascaded in rich coloration. 


But go to a museum today, and you see staid marble and what appears to be a vast collection of grays, browns, and three-dimensional black and white photographs. But the pigments and paints decay. And the weathering of the seasons and the march of time have made most color drain away. 

But the coloration is still there, in small traces — which the Chroma exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art has attempted to recapture — to see ancient artworks in color again. Alas, you won’t see the now lost statue of Zeus at Olympia, but you will see that same artist’s head of Athena, which at one time had ebony eyes. I especially liked the bronze warriors. And the Sphinx in color was fantastic. 

If you have a moment and you are in New York — take a moment and experience these reconstructions done by Prof. Dr. V. Brinkmann & Dr. U. Koch-Brinkmann. @metmuseum @metgreekandroman

Reconstruction of Bust of Caligula
Reconstruction of a marble portrait of the
Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus,
known as Caligula, Variant B.


Reconstruction of Bronze of Boxer
Reconstruction of bronze statue from 
the Quirinal in Rome of the so-called Terme Boxer.




Collage of Marble Archer, Sphinx, Athena Medici, and Greek Amphora Vase
Read Clockwise: [1] Reconstruction of a marble archer in the costume of a horsemen of the peoples to the north and east of Greece, from the west pediment of Temple of Aphaia, Variant C. [2] Reconstruction of a marble finial in the form of a sphinx. [3] Marble head of Athena: The so-called Athena Medici. [4] Terracotta neck-amphora (jar) ca. 330–310 B.C.E. Attributed to the Ixion Painter — On the body, obverse, Hippolytos, attendant, and Phaidra, with a Fury above. 

Detail of Bronze Reconstruction of Riace Warrior and Terme Ruler
 [1] Reconstruction the bronze statue from the Quirinal in Rome of the so-called Terme Rule. [2] Reconstruction of bronze Riace Warrior (mid-view detail).



14.1.21

Aesthetic Thursday: Poussin’s Poetic Painting "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I recently went to the Met — and I wandered the newly renovated European Paintings galleries and I fell in love with the French artist Poussin's painterly image of a wandering giant looking for the sun.
The painting "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun" is an oil painting on canvas by French artist Nicolas Poussin
Nicolas Poussin, French Les Andelys 1594-1665 Rom — "Blind Orion Searching for the Rising Sun," 1658 (oil on canvas). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. 24.45.1 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently renovated its European Paintings galleries. The skylights have been fixed and apparently more artwork has been hung on the walls. I like to wander the galleries without a goal in mind — however, I lie just a bit, here. Because I did have a goal in my wanderings — mainly to find the Met's Caravaggio's. But it's always the serendipitous finds that stick with me. And Poussin's "Blind Orion" caught my attention. I know nothing of Poussin — so my interpretation of the painting is more of a first blush. But I am a lover of myth and poetry — and this painting draws you into a mythological world. At first I thought the giant figure carrying a man on his shoulders was Saint Christopher — the legendary boatsman who carried the Christ child on his shoulder crossing a river. But that is not the subject of this painting. It's a depiction of the blind giant Orion, who carries his guide Cedalion, as they look for the rising sun. The museum placard indicates that Diana, the moon goddess, who appears a diaphanous blue, stands watching in the clouds. It's a magical story; obviously one fit for myth — but the scene resonates with me because I think of myself as somewhat of a wanderer. And Orion is also the name of one of my favorite constellations. So it is befitting. Here's to searching. For the healing sun.

PDF for Printing

7.2.13

Aesthetic Thursday: Bradley Rubenstein

Bradley Rubenstein, Unititled (Girl with Puppy Dog Eyes), 1996
What Is The Gotcha! in This Photograph?
At first I see this image as a brash conceit. All art is a conceit - right? - but this image forces me to see the conceit, to see that it's a mash-up. Maybe I am troubled because I have this ontological conviction that a photograph tells me something about reality. Maybe so. But maybe the reality that I am seeing is not so conceitful as I first think. What is going on here? Through the use of digital manipulation puppy dog eyes are inserted into a girl's eyes.

I Like Images That Make Me Re-Think What I am Seeing
I like images that ask me to question the image, to make me consider its mode of production. How did the artist do this? What was his method? I suppose this is Rubenstein's point. By making me aware of how this particular image was produced I am struck by another possibility - the genetic manipulation that would be required to produce a real girl born with puppy dog eyes. Rubenstein is playing with conceit to alert us to the biogenetic possibility that what we see as conceit could become a reality. What if someone decided that little girls and little puppies are a desirable combination? Is what we see in the art an image of a possible future? 

Two Paragons of Cuteness: Kids and Puppies
On the placard, a museum curator has written this, "Merging two paragons of cuteness—kids and puppies—into unsettling hybrids, the artist offers an eerie forewarning of the transgressive potential of genetic manipulation." Where is the transgression? In imagining such mutations? Is the point that the degrees that separate the photoshop touch-up from the biogenetic not that far apart? Perhaps. Maybe the most unsettling aspect of Rubenstein's photographs is that he is telling us we have already arrived at this stage - we are just waiting for the biotechnology to catch up. I think I need to go watch Bladerunner and re-read Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans.

31.1.13

Aesthetic Thursday: Matthew Jensen's "49 States"

Matthew Jensen, The 49 States, 2008-9
Google Streetview in Art
I am addicted to Google Street View. I am going to Philadelphia this weekend and I have already seen on Street View what the hotel will look like, what the front of a restaurant I want to have lunch at looks like  all as if I will have already "done" the trip before I even go. Someone else has already been there. Someone has already snapped a photograph. There is nothing new under the sun. But I like what Matthew Jensen has done in the Metropolitan Museum of Art display of his work  he has taken a collage of images from Google Street View and organized them alphabetically according to State (e.g., the fifty states of the United States).

Jensen's Work at the Met Reminds Me of the Iconic American Road Trip
Seeing Jensen's work at the Met, as part of an exhibit on contemporary photography, I think of travel, the association Americans have with the road trip and snapping pictures. What is a road trip without a camera? Now that we have Google to take our snapshots for us maybe the camera is dead on the road. *sad face*. The images Jensen has collected are absent individuals but it seems easy enough to insert a human being into each State's slot. Look, there is me in New York. There is me in Connecticut. I look at my home state of Louisiana and compare it to Wisconsin. They both seem the same  and taken as a whole the image captures a unity of sorts, the kind of unity I get when traveling on the interstate where every exit is the same as the ones that came before it and all the ones ahead will look the same and so on. Is this a new American flag? Maybe so.

Stray Observations:

  • Why are there only forty-nine states in Jensen's collage? I did not have time to figure out what state is missing.
  • Did Google allow Jensen to use their images?
  • I feel like Jensen's work would be better if every picture in the series included a person whose face is blurred out.
  • I want this piece to hang in a doctor's office.

29.7.11

Aesthetic Thursday: Max Beckmann, Beginning

"Beginning" Max Beckmann, 1949, oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Triptychs
The piece "Beginning" is a triptych which means it is a single work composed of three panels. Triptychs were originally intended for religious art. Since the work is composed of three separate panels, once installed in a church or home, the priest could open or close the panel depending on the day of observance. Beckmann chooses the traditional triptych style, not for religious purposes but to depict pivotal events in a boy's adolescent development.

The Central Panel
The central panel depicts a boy on a white horse, a woman wearing blue stockings lying on a divan (smoking a hookah?), a cat hangs on the ceiling (reminds me of Puss in Boots).

Left Panel
An organ grinder, an angel, a boy with a crown.

Right Panel
Boys with laconic gazes, a teacher disciplines a pupil, a boy displays his pornographic magazine to other students.

23.7.11

Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Another quiet place to read and study in Manhattan
Interior, The Watson Library, image: the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Probably not as obvious an option for quiet study space as the Rose Main Reading room at the New York Public Library, but the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts the Watson Library, a quiet space hidden amidst the buzzing interior of the Met on fifth avenue adjacent to Central Park. Access to this space is available to anyone with a research interest in Art History. (Hint: just say you are interested in researching art history and you're in. They won't grill you for proof of serious research intent).

While the mission of the library privileges use by museum researchers, the library is not foreclosed to seekers of quiet reading and study space in New York City. To obtain access to the library one has to state an area of research interest and present a photo ID, and fill out a registration form. Once supplied with a proper library card, one does not need to pay admission to the museum to use the library. Simply present yourself at the information desk to gain access. All bags must be checked-in prior to entrance. 

The library is a closed stacks library so if a book is needed from the library’s collection, the call number must be recorded and a patron can page the book at the circulation desk. For simple quiet space, a place to read or to study, the Watson library is superb. The setting is heavily academic and very quiet, so do not expect comfy overstuffed chairs or vibrant colors. This is a no-frills place to read and to catch up on one’s knowledge of Mondrian or Picasso.
Further Information:
Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028, First Floor
Public Hours: Weekdays: Monday–Friday 10 am–5:15 pm; book retrieval until 3:30 pm. 
Directions: Subway: 4,5,6 to 86th St.; A,B,C to 86th street (and walk across the park)
Contact: Watson Library Contact Form  
Telephone: 212-650-2312

23.6.11

Aesthetic Thursday: Alexander McQueen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

In this blog post, I write about the newest fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - Alexander McQueen - Savage Beauty. 


The Dialectic of Beauty, Alexander McQueen Struggles with Deconstructive Aesthetics
    If you are in New York City between now and August 7, 2011, check out the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exhibit."
    The exhibit boasts an ample retrospective on the deceased fashion designer's life works, dating back from his seminal graduate student collection inspired by Jack the Ripper to his most recent posthumous collection.
    Jellyfish designs, a macabre mixture of duck feathers and leather masks, spray-on dresses, and kinky "bumster" design pants, the McQueen exhibit is a touching tribute to a man who certainly obsessed over dichotomies, divergences, and the question of the beautiful.

24.2.11

Aesthetic Thursdays: Perseus with the Head of Medusa

Perseus with the head of the Medusa by Canova
Perseus with the Head of the Medusa, Antonio Canova, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 


Detail of Perseus
The Face of Perseus
Detail of Medusa's head from Antonio Canova's statue of Perseus
Detail - The Head of Medusa, Metropolitan Museum
For several Fridays in a row, I've been dedicating at least an hour to the Metropolitan Museum of Art galleries. Proffering my student ID I pay as little as ten dollars to view a vast collection of priceless art. One more reason why I love New York City. I do not stay longer than an hour and I stick to one section, sometimes only one room. For my visit today I scurried over to the European Sculpture Court and sat with the sculptures. The Perseus statue with the head of the Medusa struck me because of the narrative embedded in the presentation. Perseus is stylistically graceful in this replica of Canova's Perseus which is now in the Vatican museums. The Met's profile on the piece mentions that Perseus's stance is modeled off the Apollo Belvedere. This seems right to me. It is as if Canova imagined what Apollo would have been holding if he were Perseus! The result is a stunning sculpture that projects grace in victory rather than priapic destruction. The medusa head in the Canova is hardly horrifying. The nest of vipers seems stilled and her face is cast in a dull mourning. Contrasted with Carravagio's Medusa's Head, which I mentioned on these pages, Canova has placed only a slight reference to snakes: two opposite facing serpents adorn the brow of the Medusa. Where Caravaggio favors priapism and glorious horror, Canova goes for subtle beauty and quiescent victory.

6.1.11

Aesthetic Thursdays: Oedipus and the Sphinx

In this blog post, I compare Gustav Moreau and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's two very different paintings of Oedipus solving the riddle of the Sphinx.
"Oedipus and the Sphinx" - Gustave Moreau. 1864. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
Notice the bottom of the painting. The gray corpse and fallen crown foreshadow Oedipus's tragic fate. The painting depicts young Oedipus as powerful, able to thwart the Sphinx's cunning by answering her riddle. But, the viewer can't help but notice death hiding just beneath.
Oedipus and the Sphinx, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. 1827. The Louvre, Paris.
Notice in Ingre's version, we see depicted in the left foreground the foot of a fallen corpse (who guessed incorrectly) as well as in the right foreground a foreshadowing of Oedipus's own demise. Since Oedipus solved the Sphinx's riddle and saved Thebes from a plague, he was given the Queen Jocasta as his wife who later is found to be his mother. Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus blinds himself with her brooch.