Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Art treasures of the Metropolitan

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

 

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