Conservators, scientists, and curators tell the story behind the unprecedented conservation of Tullio Lombardo's Adam. The life-size marble statue of Adam, carved by Tullio Lombardo (Italian, ca. 1455–1532), is among the most important works of art from Renaissance Venice to be found outside that city today. Made in the early 1490s for the tomb of Doge Andrea Vendramin, it is the only signed sculpture from that monumental complex. The serene, idealized figure, inspired by ancient sculpture, is deceptively complex. Carefully manipulating composition and finish, Tullio created God's perfect human being, but also the anxious victim of the serpent's wiles. In 2002, Adam was gravely damaged in an accident. Committed to returning it to public view, the Museum undertook a conservation treatment that has restored the sculpture to its original appearance to the fullest extent possible. The exhibition allows Adam to be viewed in the round and explains this unprecedented twelve-year research and conservation project. It also inaugurates a new permanent gallery for Venetian and northern Italian sculpture. The installation of this gallery was made possible by Assunta Sommella Peluso, Ignazio Peluso, Ada Peluso, and Romano I. Peluso.
Tiffany and Company’s famous Bryant Vase was meticulously crafted by highly skilled artisans—among them, Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Eugene J. Soligny—who worked the silver for more than a year. Curator Ellenor Alcorn describes how Tiffany then used the fascinating nineteenth-century process of electrotyping to create presentation copies. View this work on metmuseum.org. Created by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Met curator Seán Hemingway on the purity of love in Bronze statue of Eros sleeping from Greece’s Hellenistic Period, 3rd–2nd century B.C.E. The Hellenistic period introduced the accurate characterization of age. Young children enjoyed great favor, whether in mythological form, as baby Herakles or Eros, or in genre scenes, playing with each other or with pets. This Eros, god of love, has been brought down to earth and disarmed, a conception considerably different from that of the powerful, often cruel, and capricious being so often addressed in Archaic poetry. One of the few bronze statues to have survived from antiquity, this figure of a plump baby in relaxed pose conveys a sense of the immediacy and naturalistic detail that the medium of bronze made possible. He is clearly based on firsthand observation. The support on which the god rests is a modern addition, but the work originally would have had a separate base, most likely of stone. This statue is the finest example of its kind. Judging from the large number of extant replicas, the type was popular in Hellenistic and, especially, Roman times. In the Roman period, Sleeping Eros statues decorated villa gardens and fountains. Their function in the Hellenistic period is less clear. They may have been used as dedications within a sanctuary of Aphrodite or possibly may have been erected in a public park or private, even royal, garden.
Evan and Anne discuss a Byzantine depiction of a griffin, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Acc. 2000.81). CC BY 4.0.
Evan Freeman, PhD and Anne McClanan, PhD discuss a Byzantine mosaic of a personification of Ktisis/Foundation, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Acc. 1999.99). CC BY 4.0.
Follow the conservation treatment and research of “Emblem of Folly,” a painting from colonial Cuzco. This is one of ten paintings in the Cuzco School style that were recently gifted to The Met as part of the Museum’s effort to collect works from colonial Latin America. José Luis Lazarte Luna, Assistant Conservator in Paintings Conservation, who was born and raised in Lima, Peru, says that conservation can “shine a light on those communities or artists that have not had the focus before.” These paintings have many unknowns, from the identities of their Indigenous makers to the materials they used. Committed study of these works can help create a better understanding of Latinx cultural identity and history.
"What does it take to revive a masterwork?" Michael Gallagher on conserving Charles Le Brun's Everhard Jabach and His Family Charles Le Brun (French, 1619–1690). Everhard Jabach (1618–1695) and His Family, ca. 1660. Oil on canvas; 110 1/4 x 129 1/8 in. (280 x 328 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, in honor of Keith Christiansen, 2014 (2014.250) http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/626692 MetCollects introduces highlights of works of art recently acquired by the Met through gifts and purchases. Discover a new work each month. http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/metcollects Credits Director: Christopher Noey Producer and Editor: Kate Farrell Camera: Sarah Cowan, Kate Farrell, Lisa Rifkind Design: Natasha Mileshina Music: Austin Fisher Explore more on MetMedia: http://www.metmuseum.org/metmedia/video.
The "Portrait of Philip IV" by Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez (1599-1660) returned recently from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, having been cleaned for the first time in more than sixty years. The gleaming silver brocade covering the king's crimson coat is executed in an extraordinarily free and spontaneous manner, which is almost unparalleled in the painter's production and can now be better appreciated. The treatment by Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge of Paintings Conservation, revealed the dazzling original surface that had been veiled by a yellowing varnish. Additionally, the first technical studies of the painting were undertaken, involving microscopy, X-radiography, and infrared reflectography.
The magnificent sixteenth-century Emperor's Carpet from Safavid Iran was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum in 1941, but its condition was so fragile that it was only displayed for public twice over the next sixty years. This video documents the ambitious three-year conservation program that was launched in 2006 to stabilize the condition of the carpet so its lustrous wools and dazzling colors can be displayed the Museum on a regular basis. Related lesson plan: http://www.metmuseum.org/learn/for-educators/lesson-plans-and-pre-visit-guides/venice-and-the-islamic-world
Met curator Yelena Rakic on reading into Cylinder seal and modern impression: nude bearded hero wrestling with a water buffalo; bull-man wrestling with lion from Mesopotamia, c. 2250–2150 B.C.E. . Created by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Met curator Nicholas Reeves on fragmented history in Head of Tutankhamun from the Amarna Period of Egypt’s New Kingdom, c. 1336–1327 B.C.E. This head is a fragment from a statue group that represented the god Amun seated on a throne with the young king Tutankhamun standing or kneeling in front of him. The king's figure was considerably smaller than that of the god, indicating his subordinate status in the presence of the deity. All that remains of Amun is his right hand, which touches the back of the king's crown in a gesture that signifies Tutankhamun's investiture as king. During coronation rituals, various types of crowns were put on the king's head. The type represented here—probably a leather helmet with metal disks sewn onto it—was generally painted blue, and is commonly called the "blue crown." The ancient name was khepresh. Statue groups showing a king together with gods had been created since the Old Kingdom, and formal groups relating to the pharaoh's coronation were dedicated at Karnak by Hatshepsut and other rulers of Dynasty 18. The Metropolitan's head of Tutankhamun with the hand of Amun is special because of the intimacy with which the subject is treated. The face of the king expresses a touching youthful earnestness, and the hand of the god is raised toward his crown with gentle care.
Met curator Isabel Stünkel on precaution in Hippopotamus dating from Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, c. 1961–1878 B.C.E. This well-formed statuette of a hippopotamus (popularly called "William") demonstrates the Egyptian artist's appreciation for the natural world. It was molded in faience, a ceramic material made of ground quartz. Beneath the blue-green glaze, the body was painted with the outlines of river plants, symbolizing the marshes in which the animal lived. The seemingly benign appearance that this figurine presents is deceptive. To the ancient Egyptians, the hippopotamus was one of the most dangerous animals in their world. The huge creatures were a hazard for small fishing boats and other rivercraft. The beast might also be encountered on the waterways in the journey to the afterlife. As such, the hippopotamus was a force of nature that needed to be propitiated and controlled, both in this life and the next. This example was one of a pair found in a shaft associated with the tomb chapel of the steward Senbi II at Meir, an Upper Egyptian site about thirty miles south of modern Asyut. Three of its legs have been restored because they were purposely broken to prevent the creature from harming the deceased. The hippo was part of Senbi's burial equipment, which included a canopic box (also in the Metropolitan Museum), a coffin, and numerous models of boats and food production.
Gossart was among the first northern artists to travel to Rome to make copies after antique sculpture and introduce historical and mythological subjects with erotic nude figures into the mainstream of northern painting. Most often credited with successfully assimilating Italian Renaissance style into northern European art of the early sixteenth century, he is the pivotal Old Master who changed the course of Flemish art from the Medieval craft tradition of its founder, Jan van Eyck (c. 1380/90--1441), and charted new territory that eventually led to the great age of Peter Paul Rubens (1577--1640).
Met curator Joan R. Mertens on self-reliance in Marble Statue of a kouros (youth), c. 590–580 B.C.E. from the Attic culture of ancient Greece. This kouros is one of the earliest marble statues of a human figure carved in Attica. The rigid stance, with the left leg forward and arms at the side, was derived from Egyptian art. The pose provided a clear, simple formula that was used by Greek sculptors throughout the sixth century B.C.E. In this early figure, geometric, almost abstract forms predominate, and anatomical details are rendered in beautiful analogous patterns. The statue marked the grave of a young Athenian aristocrat.
Met curator Carmen Bambach on the presence of genius in Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto); Studies for the Libyan Sibyl and a small Sketch for a Seated Figure (verso), c. 1510–11. This is the most magnificent drawing by Michelangelo in the United States. A male studio assistant posed for the anatomical study, which was preparatory for the Libyan Sibyl, one of the female seers frescoed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel (Vatican Palace) in 1508-12. In the fresco, the figure is clothed except for her powerful shoulders and arms, and has an elaborately braided coiffure. Michelangelo used the present sheet to explore the elements that were crucial in the elegant resolution of the figure's pose, especially the counterpoint twist of shoulders and hips and the manner of weight-bearing on her toe. Recent research shows that this sheet of studies was owned by the Buonarroti family soon after Michelangelo's death. The "no. 21" inscribed on the verso of the sheet (at lower center) fits precisely into a numerical sequence found on many other drawings by the artist that have this early Buonarroti family provenance.
All Saints Church, 7 Margaret Street, London. Architect: William Butterfield. Primary patrons: Alexander Beresford Hope and Henry Tritton. Designed 1849.
Hear Byzantine art historians Evan Freeman and Anne McClanan unlock the meanings of a marble sculpture from the past, showing an early Byzantine/Late Roman woman holding a scroll. Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters Collection, 66.25.
Evan Freeman and Anne McClanan, PhDs in Byzantine Art History, here discuss a Byzantine chalice, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Acc. 1986.3.2). Video Editor: Anna Weltner This video is available CC BY 4.0 Here's info on the object from the Met's website: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/466136 Date: 500–650 Geography: Made in Attarouthi, Syria Culture: Byzantine Medium: Silver and gilded silver Dimensions: Overall: 9 11/16 × 6 9/16 in., 16.7oz. (24.6 × 16.7 cm, 474g) Diam. of foot: 3 15/16 in. (10 cm) Diam. of knop: 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm) Capacity of cup: 2000 ml With a youthful Christ with a cruciform halo, a deacon saint with censer (probably Saint Stephen), a youthful saint with staff, the Virgin Mary in orant pose, a military saint in armor killing a dragon (Saint George ?), and a long-haired Saint John the Forerunner, under arcades Inscribed in Greek: Of Saint Stephen of the village of Attaroutha An unusual aspect of these chalices is their repeated representation of military saints. The figures in armor killing a dragon may be the earliest surviving depictions of Saint George, who according to tradition was martyred in the eastern Mediterranean in the fourth century or earlier. Created by Smarthistory.