Interview: American Period Room
The Alexandria Ballroom is one of 12 period rooms that have been reconfigured and renovated in The New American Wing. Amelia Peck, the Marica F. Vilcek Curator in the Department of American Decorative Arts, recently spoke with Met News editor Jennette Mullaney about this stately public chamber.
The Alexandria Ballroom is a handsome space. Which features or aspects of the room did you concentrate on during its renovation and reinterpretation?
There were three things we focused on the most. The first was redoing the furniture layout so it was a little more dynamic than it had been in the past. There are different furniture types, not just mainly chairs as there had been in the past. And instead of just having platforms around the walls we created a little vignette in the center with a tea table and chairs—almost a room setting. On the back wall, behind the tea table, there’s a slab table and an armchair on either side so you kind of get a sense of how a room might be furnished. We have pieces that relate to one another all in one place.
Continue reading the interview.
Image: Alexandria Ballroom, 1793. Alexandria, Virginia. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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Medieval art continues to fascinate art lovers of all ages. Explore the art of the Middle Ages through a special exhibition and a variety of free programs at the Main Building and The Cloisters. If you’d like to learn more about medieval art before your visit, see our collection of essays about the subject and video playlist on the Met’s YouTube channel. You may also view selected works in our online Collection Database from The Cloisters and the Department of Medieval Art.
Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages
This exhibition, the first to examine in depth the achievements of the medieval draftsman, includes many works that have never before been lent outside their home countries. Through some 50 examples created in settings as diverse as the 9th-century monastic scriptoria and the 14th-century French court, the presentation considers the aesthetics, uses, and techniques of medieval drawings, mastered by artists working centuries before the dawn of the Renaissance. For more information, including sponsorship credits, see the exhibition preview.
Join us for gallery talks and a film held in conjunction with "Pen and Parchment." We will also be hosting a lecture program with the leading authority on information design, Edward Tufte, who will explain how drawings from the Middle Ages exhibit "graphical excellence."
Though beautiful all year round, the gardens of The Cloisters are especially stunning during the spring and summer months. Take a garden tour, offered at 1:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, and then stay for a guided tour of collection highlights at The Cloisters. Gallery talks focus on a particular topic, lending insight to intriguing aspects of medieval art.
Image: Saint Jerome (detail), From Life of Saint Paul by Jerome and Life of Saint Guthlac. England, probably Canterbury, probably 2nd quarter of 11th century. Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS 389
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Share Your Photos of the Met
The Museum has a Flickr Group through which you can share your photos of the Main Building and The Cloisters. If you’d like to participate, join the Group and submit your pictures to our Group Pool.
If you are photographing The New American Wing, add your submissions to our pool with the tag "american_wing." We will select one photo to be featured in the August issue of Met News, which has a readership of more than 100,000 people. Read our discussion for more information and to submit questions or comments. For inspiration, see photos submitted to our "It’s Time We Met" contest. Play a slide show of all the public entries and view the two winning photographs and five runners-up.
Browse our photo Collections and Sets to find photos that pique your interest. Among our recently added sets are photos of The New American Wing ribbon-cutting ceremony with First Lady Michelle Obama, beautiful photographs of our Asian-Pacific Heritage Month celebration, and behind-the-scenes and final installation pictures of the special exhibition The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion.
Image: First Lady Michelle Obama cuts the ribbon inaugurating the New American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Augustus Saint-Gaudens in The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Museum has some 45 sculptures by Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848–1907), the American Beaux-Arts sculptor. Through the lens of the Met’s unparalleled holdings as well as some related loans, this exhibition offers a reappraisal of Saint-Gaudens’s groundbreaking role in the history of late 19th-century American sculpture and the Aesthetic Movement. See the exhibition preview for more information, including sponsorship credits.
Enjoy a gallery talk about the work of Saint-Gaudens. Learn more about this exceptionally talented artist with an essay from our Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.
Image: Diana, 1893–94; this cast, 1894 or after. Augustus Saint-Gaudens (American, 1848–1907). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Lincoln Kirstein, 1985 (1985.353).
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School may be out for the summer, but the Met is offering an abundance of family programs designed to educate our youngest guests in a fun and relaxed environment. All programs, with the exception of Children’s Art Classes, are free with Museum admission.
Family Day—"Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul"
Saturday, July 25, 11:30–5:15
Explore the rich culture of Afghanistan during a Family Day full of fun activities. Create art, take a tour, enjoy a presentation, and see a wonderful musical performance on the rabob, the traditional lute of Afghanistan. We will be hosting Family Day in Spanish as well, and bilingual educators will be on hand. This bilingual event is held in conjunction with the special exhibition Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul.
Children’s Art Classes: Drawing in the Galleries
What better setting for our youngest guests to learn to create and appreciate art than the Metropolitan Museum? Students will explore a variety of drawing techniques and materials and create their own art works based on what they see. Sessions run from July 21 through August 27 and are $240 for each 12-week session or $20 per class. See the calendar for more information or register online now.
Family Films, Orientations, and Workshops
A wonderful collection of short films will delight children and parents alike. Family Orientations introduce youngsters to select special exhibitions, including Pen and Parchment: Drawing in the Middle Ages; The Pictures Generation, 1974–1984; and Augustus Saint-Gaudens in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Head over to The Cloisters for special gallery workshops that provide an interactive hour-long learning experience for children.
Before your visit to the Museum, help your children discover art through our online resources; visit Explore & Learn to see what’s new, what’s just for fun, and much more.
Image: Bracket element with a female riding a fantastic creature, 1st–2nd century A.D. Afghanistan, Begram. National Museum of Afghanistan, Kabul, 04.1.116. Photo: © Thierry Ollivier / Musée Guimet
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The Costume Institute Film Series
Held in conjunction with the special exhibition The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion, the Costume Institute Film Series offers a provocative look into the fashion world. Each of the three films explores the fashion industry from a different angle—idealized, satiric, and matter-of-fact.
Along with Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute, and Kohle Yohannan, guest co-curator, special guests with a connection to the films will lead discussions at each screening. At 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 10, legendary model Carmen Dell’Orefice will introduce Funny Face, a classic movie with an equally classic Cinderella story line. Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?, a scathing lampoon of the fashion industry, will be screened at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 17, with model and Polly Maggoo star Dorothy McGowan leading the discussion. Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi will introduce Unzipped, a documentary about none other than Isaac Mizrahi, on Wednesday, July 22, at 5:30 p.m. Please note that Kohle Yohannan will not be available for this screening.