close up views of these rich tapestries
Museums make me happy, and it feels special to walk the halls taking in all that history together in one place. Today, I’m giving thanks to interior designer Jamie Drake, Parsons School of Design and Stark for inviting me to be part of a small, private tour to learn about the works of 16th Century Renaissance artist Pieter Coecke van Aelst. The show is a collection of the artist’s elaborate tapestries made over the course of his career in the Netherlands. These kind of unique shows tell the stories of our past, and the art helps us to connect the dots about lifestyles during that time when other documentation may not be available.
We were fortunate to have the complete attention of museum curator Elizabeth Cleland who lead us on a detailed and mesmerizing tour. Cleland meticulously comprised this artist’s lifetime collections from all over the world and showcases the majestic works throughout the Tisch Galleries on the 2nd floor of the museum. Since this particular artist is relatively unknown there was much work to bring the exhibit together. The show marks the first single tapestry artist exhibit at the MET. To see these works of art preserved and altogether in one expansive hall is awe inspiring. I enjoyed hearing the stories of the labor and detailing that went into creating them as well.
Pieter Coecke van Aelst’s painting, The Last Supper
Since the artist was first a painter it was valuable to see many of his paintings side by side with his tapestries, and the similar painterly qualities of the characters on his canvas were recreated on the tapestries with impressive artistry — this is no small feat. Seeing many of these works completely intact and kept in pristine condition was equally impressive.
The tapestries were created with wool, silk and gold and silver-metal wrapped thread, and created only after the artist made life size “cartoons” which were drawings and gouache and done in the finest details.
“The pursuit of pleasure leads to misery and sorrow, for unbridled love blinds and deranges the heart”
inscription, Lust tapestry
It is difficult to choose just one tapestry as my favorite, but if I had to pick one, I’d head over the gallery hall showcasing the 7 deadly sins (each sin has a dedicated tapestry boasting the enticing qualities of that particular sin). I must admit Lust stopped me in my tracks!
My second favorite is the beautiful and lush depiction of the story of Vertumnus and Pomona. The gentleman’s pose, hat and the fabric drew us in, but the incredible detailing and foliage on the top of the tapestry made me wish there was a ladder available for closer inspection.
The exhibit is now open to the public at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through January 11
. Don’t take my word for it, make it a holiday outing and head on over to witness the magic. I promise you’ll leave inspired! Additionally, Please see details below about a two day symposium sponsored by Stark and Jamie Drake in conjunction with Parsons School of Design to delve deeper into the exhibit…
The Symposium Internationally renowned scholars and curators present recent scholarship in themed sessions during this two-day event held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Parsons The New School for Design. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis, but is Free and open to the public. For more information read here.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium Free with Museum admission
Sunday, January 11, 2015
Parsons The New School for Design
John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center 63 Fifth Avenue, New York City
the crowned jewel of the exhibit and
the last on the tour at the end of the gallery is the large and impressive Adam & Eve
more close up views from the show