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Metropolitan Museum Of Art - Its Aim And History
FROM the first inception of the founding of the Metropolitan Museum its aim has been the education of the public and the cultivation of a high standard of artistic taste.
THE cradle of humanity was the cradle of Art. This makes Assyrian and Babylonian art the oldest, if the view that the race was born in Mesopotamia be accepted. The prehistoric products of Egyptian or Chinese art cast sometimes a doubt on the Assyrian primordial claim.
Plaster - Casts And Models
THE foundation of the Collection of Casts, which has become one of the largest in the world, was laid by Levi Hale Willard, himself deeply interested in architecture, who bequeathed in 1883 a large sum for the purchase of a collection of models, casts, photographs, and other objects illustrative of the art and science of architecture.
The department of original sculpture virtually begins where the department of casts of sculpture leaves off. It is, however, in embryonic state, the objects not even being gathered together in one hall, but placed here and there in handy corners.
American Sculpture
An excellent beginning has been made in bringing together a collection of the works of American Sculptors. Most of these, indeed, are small examples suitable for household decoration, and as such may be instructive to American art lovers in their search for plastic works, for they surely excel much that is produced in other lands.
French Sculpture
The well-known action of the State of Virginia to procure a portrait statue of George Washington, resulted, at the instance of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, in the visit of Jean Antoine Houdon (1741-1828) to Mount Vernon in 1785.
English Sculpture
The English bronze statuettes, in the gallery above the Central Court, all represent the human figure, and express delicacy and charm, thoroughly imbued with French taste but not the massive style of Rodin and his followers.
A PROPER introduction to the discussion of the paintings in the Metropolitan Museum may be considered a look at the fast increasing collection of Drawings, Etchings and Engravings.
Italian Paintings
The Italian section cannot boast of very many supremely fine examples of the great schools; but it is highly commendable that, since the greatest works can only be had on the rarest occasions, good pictures of minor artists are being collected, those that truly show the characteristics of the art tendencies ruling in Italy for three centuries.
The Flemish Paintings
Hubert van Eyck (1366?-1426) and his brother Jan (1382-1441), some twenty years his junior, after repeated experiments found that a mixture of linseed oil and nut oil combined with some resinous substances formed a quickly drying varnish, and that by mixing this medium with colours an hitherto unsurpassed effect of brilliancy was produced.
Dutch Paintings
OF the Dutch paintings there is a larger proportion of such as are worthy to be ranked with European Museum pictures. Some of the examples by Frans Hals, Rembrandt, Vermeer van Delft, Albert Cuyp, and Maes are equal to the best work of these artists to be found anywhere.
German Paintings
German painting cannot be said, in its past or present state of mediocre attainment, ever to have rested on historic laurels. In a measure the 19th century has brought forth some men above the ordinary, as Menzel, Leibl, Lieberman, Lenbach ; but even the best cannot be placed in the same rank with the best men of foreign schools.
Spanish Paintings
MOST of the few painters of note which the Spanish school has produced are represented in the Metropolitan Museum, except the greatest of them all, Velasquez, whose work is only indicated by copies or school pictures.
French Paintings
IN point of numbers of artists represented the French section is best supplied. Examples of almost one hundred and fifty painters are shown, as a result of which not any national school of painting in the Museum may be studied as completely in every phase of its art expression.
English Paintings
THE section of English paintings is, perhaps, of a higher average merit than any of the others. This is owing to the extremely judicious selection, not only of the work of the greater men, but also of the examples of the British Minor Masters, and the almost total absence of the men who came after the preraphaelite movement had subsided the Ruskinized Royal Academy school, where most of the painters go for tootling on one sentimental flute.
American Paintings
IT must be understood that the American Section is not alone intended to have aesthetic value, but to have some measure of educational interest in endeavouring to present an historical review of all known American painters up to the men of the present day.
THE department of Metalwork is rapidly presenting an exhaustive survey of artistic work in gold, silver, bronze, brass, iron and pewter.
Arms And Armour
While the collection of Arms and Armour of the Metropolitan Museum may not be compared with the inexhaustible collection of the Historical Museum at the Johanneum, Dresden, or the Wallace Collection at Hertford House, London, it, nevertheless, presents a respectable array of the work of the armourer, the German Waffenschmidt.
Wood Work
THE art of the woodworker was barely illustrated until the Georges Hoentschel Collection was placed on exhibition, covering work of the Gothic period and of the 18th century.
THE term Pottery used in its widest sense includes every production of the fictile art, and comprises all kinds of earthenware and stoneware, as well as porcelain, its highest achievement.
The manufacture of glass is of the first interest among the useful and ornamental arts. The art is one of the oldest which has been handed down from ancient to modern civilizations, and the collections in the Museum illustrate the history of the manufacture of glass from the invention of the art down to our own day.
Gems And Articles De Vertu
The engraving of gems was considered a rare art among the ancients. The lapidary's work from the earliest times was sought for first to serve as an amulet, talisman, or charm. The later use was that of a signet for securing by means of a seal of clay what now would be locked.
The study of textiles is often subdivided into tapestry, carpet-weaving, mechanical weaving of fabrics of lighter weight or woven stuffs, embroidery and laces. These headings are useful to observe in our treatment of the vast collections of textiles now found in the Metropolitan Museum.
The Collection of Laces of the Metropolitan Museum is one of the finest, if not the finest in the world. When the Nuttall collection was presented it became among the foremost. A survey may be had of all the intricacies of lace work from its beginning to the present time.
Musical Instruments
Turning first our attention to the instruments used in Europe from the earliest time to the present day we find these systematically divided. And first we note the Stringed Instruments without a keyboard.
Heber R. Bishop Collection Of Jade
Those who visit the magnificent collection of Jade in the Bishop Hall at the Museum will agree that the best way to consider this wonderful array of precious specimens is as a unique and altogether separate subject.
Washington - Lafayette - Franklin Collection
During the long residence in Europe of Mr. William H. Huntington he made a very large and valuable collection of works of art which have special reference to Washington, Lafayette and Franklin.
The Library is also the appropriate depository for incunabula and manuscripts, for reproductions of these, and for photographs of the thousands of art objects not in the Museum but of equal if not of greater value that need to be known to lend greater appreciation of what is on exhibition in the galleries.
Prominent among those who gave the first impetus to the Museum's work were its first President, John Taylor Johnston, with Wm. T. Blodgett, Frederick W. Rhinelander, Rutherford Stuyvesant, Richard M. Hunt, H. G. Marquand, Robert Hoe Jr., Richard Butler, G. P. Putnam and Lucius Tuckerman.
Sun Dials And Clocks
Sun-dials or gnomons were the first instruments used in measuring time, and there is but little doubt that the obelisks of the Egyptians served this purpose.
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