Italian Studiolos, Andalusian Patios, and Egyptian Temples (Or, the Met: Pt. 3)

As a disclaimer: These photos were taken during a visit in February/March 2016, so this post may not be representative of this site today.

You can find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.

Architects Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould worked together in 1871 to create the High Victorian Gothic style building that would eventually house the Met — and which was not well received, as it had been considered outdated prior to completion. A new architectural plan had been put in place within 20 years, and many additions have been made to the building since then. The building today covers an area of over 190,000 square meters (2 million square feet), which is more than 20 times the size of the original 1880 building.

European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

The European Sculpture and Decorative Arts collection is one of the largest in the Met, holding over 50,000 pieces from the 15th-20th centuries. Mostly comprised of Renaissance sculpture, it also holds furniture, jewelry, tapestries, timepieces, and mathematical instruments.

Model of Cupid and Psyche by Antonio Canova

Entire furnished rooms are available for visitors to peruse, and it includes an entire 16th-century patio from the Spanish castle of Vélez Blanco, as well as the intarsia studiolo from the ducal palace at Gubbio.

Paper Knife, Castellani Firm
Parure: Tiara, Necklace, and Brooch, by Luigi Saulini
Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio, Francesco di Giorgio Martini

This studiolo (or “study”) was a room that became popular during the Renaissance, and which was intended for meditation and study. The technique used to create this particular example is called intarsia, and it is similar to mosaic, except differently-toned wood is used instead of precious stones. The walls are meant to show objects that reflected the artistic and scientific interests of Duke Federico da Montefeltro, who commissioned it. The project was designed by the Sienese artist Francesco di Giorgio Martini, and executed by Giuliano and Benedetto da Maiano, who constructed the room in its entirety in their workshop in Florence.

Studiolo from the Ducal Palace in Gubbio, Francesco di Giorgio Martini
Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco

The Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco was constructed in the 1510s for the Governor of Murcia, Pedro Fajardo, 1st Marquis of los Vélez. It was carved out of marble from Macael, and was part of the Castillo de Vélez-Blanco in city of the same name, in Andalusia, Spain.

Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco
Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco
Patio from the Castle of Vélez Blanco
The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer by Edgar Degas

Arms and Armor

One of the museum’s most popular, the Arms and Armor Gallery displays a parade of armored figures on horseback, which was organized in 1975. The collection includes mostly medieval European pieces and Japanese pieces from the 5th-19th centuries.

It also covers weapons and armor from dynastic Egypt, ancient Greece, the Roman empire, the ancient Near East, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, as well as American firerams from the 1th-29th centuries.

14,000 pieces compose the collection, with the oldest being flint bifaces from 700,000-200,000 BCE. Included are also pieces made for kings and princes, armor belonging to Henry VIII of England, Henry II of France, and Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor.

Asian Art

The Met’s Asian Art collection holds more than 35,000 pieces, and goes back to the Met’s beginnings, when so many of the earliest gifts made to the museum included Asian Art in their collections. It spans 4,000 years of Asian art history, and every known Asian civilization is represented, covering decorative art, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and metalworking.

Buddha of Medicine Bhaishajyaguru (Yaoshi fo)
Shiva as Lord of Dance (Nataraja)

Notable items include examples of Chinese calligraphy and painting, as well as Indian sculptures, Nepalese and Tibetan works, and art from Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, and Thailand.

Ten Elements for East Window of an Architectural Ensemble from a Jain Meeting Hall
Mandala of the Sun God Surya
Guru Dragpo

The collection also holds a Ming Dynasty-style garden court, modeled on the Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou, east China.

The Astor Chinese Garden Court
Temple of Dendur

Egyptian Art

Though most items from this collection came from private collection, about half of them came from the museum’s own archaeological excavations, carried out between 1906 and 1941.

In 1963, flooding created by the building of the Aswan High Dam threatened the Temple of Abu Simbel. After the US, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain assisted in relocating the temple higher up, and farther away from, the river to preserve it, the Egyptian government gifted each country a small temple. Egypt presented the US with the Temple of Dendur, and the structure was reassembled at the Met in 1978, to be housed in a newly built wing.

The Egyptian collection holds more than 26,000 pieces, covering a historical period from the Paleolithic era through the Ptolemaic. The wing holds 40 Egyptian galleries.

Portrait of a young woman in red
Portrait of a thin-faced, bearded man

American Wing

Covering American art from the 18th-early 20th-century, the gallery encompasses 2,800 square meters (30,000 square feet). The wing opened in 1924, with painting and sculpture galleries and a skylit courtyard added in 1980. Today, the collection comprises 20,000 works by American artists, including painting, sculpture, and decorative arts such as furniture, ceramics, jewelry, and embroidery.

Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) by John Singer Sargent
Lady with the Rose (Charlotte Louise Burckhardt) by Jon Singer Sargent

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