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22 Highlights From the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recently released a collection of 400,000 high-resolution images, each of a unique and beautiful piece. This means that I can share with you some of the most amazing things shown at this "Cultural Mecca", and you didn't even need to pay admission fees! The level of detail on some of these pieces is just astounding:

Grand Pianoforte – 1840, London - United Kingdom

Metropolitan art

This grand piano is unsurpassed in elegance and iconographic complexity. The hammers are covered with felt, and the strings of the top twenty-six notes pass through a perforated brass bar, that secures them against the hammers’ strong blows. Longitudinal steel bars reinforce the open-bottomed case and all this creates a sound as beautiful as the piano itself.

 

Celestial globe with clockwork –1579, Austrian - Vienna

This globe was made by Gerhard Emmoser, imperial clockmaker from 1566 until his death in 1584. The movement, which has been extensively rebuilt, rotated in the celestial sphere and drove a small image of the sun along its path. The hour was indicated on a dial mounted at the top of the globe’s axis, and the day of the year appeared on a calendar rotating in the horizontal ring.

 

The Triumph of Fame - 1502–4, Brussels

Metropolitan art

One of the finest early Renaissance tapestries known, this piece is extraordinary for its condition, color, and harmonious composition. Fame is shown standing and reading at a lectern (ancient reading desk), surrounded by writers whose works immortalized the deeds of the ancients. His triumph over death is represented by the three Fates beneath his feet.

 

The Rocky Mountains by Albert Bierstadt – 1863

Metropolitan art
This painting is the first major work resulting from Albert Bierstadt's first trip to the West. In early 1859, he accompanied a government expedition to Nebraska. By summer, the party had reached the Wind River Range of the Rocky Mountains, now known as Wyoming. It was completed in 1863, exhibited to great acclaim, and purchased in 1865 for the then-astounding sum of $25,000. Needless to say. it's worth a lot more today.
 

Burgonet helmet – 1543, Milam- Italy

This metalwork masterpiece was made by Filippo Negroli, whose embossed armor was praised by sixteenth-century writers as “miraculous” and deserving “immortal merit.” Formed of one plate of steel yet painted to look like bronze, the bowl is full of motifs inspired by classical art. The main feature of the helmet is a graceful siren, holding a grimacing head of  Medusa by the hair.

 

Ceramic Horn – late 18th - early 19th century, France

Metropolitan art

This hunting horn is made of glazed pottery and was intended for decorative display and not actual use. It bears an unidentified coat of arms so little else is known about the true origin of this artwork.

 

Ceramic Stove –1685, Switzerland

Metropolitan art

This colorful ceramic stove was made for the paneled room in the Schlössli (Little Castle), a manor house built in 1682. Stoves were common in alpine regions, where the bitter cold of winter was unrelieved for months at a time. They provided continuous heat while the enclosed fire both conserved wood fuel, and removed the dangers of smoke and sparks made by open fires.

 

King Sahure and a Nome God - 2458–2446 B.C., Egypt

Metropolitan art

This is the only preserved three-dimensional representation of Sahure, the second ruler of the 5th dynasty. The deity is the smaller figure which offers the king an ankh, a hieroglyph meaning “life”, with his left hand.

 

Bracelet with Agathodaimon - 1st century B.C.–A.D. 1st century, Egypt

Metropolitan art

This golden bracelet features talismans of fertility and good fortune in the form of two snakes. The snake on the left represents Agathodaimon, and the cobra on the right Terenouthis, two agrarian/fertility deities associated with Serapis and Isis, respectively. On the platform between the snake heads are the two goddesses, Isis-Tyche (or Isis-Fortuna), a deity closely associated with Alexandria, and the nude Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

 

Marble column - 300 B.C., Greece

Metropolitan art

This column was once over fifty-eight feet (17.6 meters) high in its original location at the Temple of Artemis. The delicate carving on the capital are unique among extant capitals from the temple, and the torus (foliated base), with its vegetal scale-like pattern, is also exceptionally elaborate. The column was probably one of a few column pairs, each with its own design.

 

Pair of Flintlock Pistols – 1786, Russia

Metropolitan art

These pistols were made for Empress Catherine the Great (reigned 1762–96). They were later given to her favorite, Prince Stanislas August Poniatowski (1732–1798), whom she backed as king of Poland. Firearms with ivory stocks, generally out of fashion in Western Europe by the eighteenth century, were in vogue in the ostentatious Russian court during the last quarter of the century.

 

Beaker (“Monkey Cup”) - 1425–50, Netherlands

Metropolitan art

One of the finest surviving examples of medieval enamel, this beaker illustrates a popular legend about the folly of man. The unusual grisaille (shades of gray) enamel technique is found on several other surviving objects, all of which are associated with the royal courts of Burgundy.

 

Secretary bookcase - 1830, New York - United States

Metropolitan art

Aside from its obvious decorative appeal, this classic piece of American furniture served a practical function as well. The front molding pulls out to reveal a writing surface flanked by compartments for ink. The drawers and shelves above provided storage space for papers, letters, and books.

 

Wedding ensemble - 1864, France

A rounded shoulder line that enhanced the length of the neck was the dominant fashion for most of the nineteenth century in France. The open neckline is apparent in this wedding dress and the under bodice of this summer gown.

 

Cypresses by Vincent van Gogh - 1889

Metropolitan art

Cypresses was painted in late June 1889, shortly after Van Gogh began his stay at the asylum in Saint-Rémy. The scene, which he found “beautiful as regards lines and proportions, like an Egyptian obelisk,” both captivated and challenged him.

 

Dagger with Zoomorphic Hilt - second half 16th century, India

Metropolitan art

Portraits of Sultan ‘Ali ‘Adil Shah of Bijapur (1558–80) show him wearing daggers such as this one with zoomorphic hilts. This ruby studded hilt is shaped like a dragon, whose tail wraps around the grip. The dragon is attacking a lion, which in turn attacks a deer. The deer is holding a parrot-like bird with a snake in its beak.

 

Ewer - 1573–1620, London - United Kingdom

Metropolitan art

In the sixteenth century Chinese porcelain was brought to England, where it was considered a special treasure. The most accomplished English silversmiths were often commissioned to make mounts for them, such as this one. Pieces such as these were regarded as suitable gifts for the royal family, or for the furnishing of their houses.

 

The Coronation of the Virgin by Annibale Carracci - 1595

Metropolitan art

Annibale Carracci was the most influential painter of the seventeenth century and a main figure in the development of classicism art style. This picture was painted shortly after his arrival in Rome, in 1595. In it, Annibale brought together two currents of Italian painting: a sensitivity to the effects of natural light and color, and the spatial organization and idealized figures from the Renaissance.

 

Boiserie from the Hôtel de Varengeville - 1736, Paris - France

Metropolitan art

These magnificent wall panels are decorated with superb carving of long-necked birds, flowers, and plants. They come from one of the private residences of the Hotel de Varengeville, which still stands today, much altered, at 217, boulevard Saint-Germain, Paris.

 

Japanese Armor – Oldest part from 1688, Japan

This example comes from the armory of Date Yoshimura (1703–1746), daimyo (lord) of Sendai. The breastplate is inscribed with the armorer’s name, Myōchin Munesuke (1688–1735) on the metal itself. Despite its ceremonial appearance, it is also a very efficient set of armor.

 

Cabinet- Ébéniste - 1867, Paris - France

Metropolitan art

When this compelling cabinet was exhibited for the first time in 1867 it received mixed criticism. It is decorated with vivid and unsettling representations of the military triumph of Merovech, leader of the Salian Franks, over Attila the Hun, at the Battle of the Catalaunian Field in 451. Merovech can be seen standing at the front of a chariot as it passes over the dead bodies of his opponents.

 

Afternoon dress – 1855, France

Metropolitan art

Nineteenth-century gauze dresses like this one incorporate the romance of the buta motif design in fabrics that bear no relation to the original Kashmiri wools. It's hard to believe, but this dress, with its multiple layers of wool and features, was made for all seasons. While it was undoubtedly beautiful, it couldn’t have been too comfortable…


Source: All these pictures and many more have been released to the public domain by the Metropolitan Museum of Art Online Department.
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