I had family in town this weekend, and we took in an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance." I had never heard of Gossart, a "Burdundian Netherlandish" artist (1478 - 1532), but a good friend had told me not to miss this show, and I was not disappointed. From the exhibition notes: "Most often credited with successfully assimilating Italian Renaissance style into northern European art of the early sixteen century, [Gossart] is the pivotal Old Master who changed the course of Flemish art from the Medieval craft tradition of its founder, Jan van Eyck, and charted new territory that eventually led to the great age of Peter Paul Rubens."
Let me share some of the beautiful and fascinating images we saw today:
First of all, Virgin and Child:
. . . Adam and Eve:
. . . Portrait of a Man:
. . . and A Young Princess (Dorothea of Denmark):
After a happy hour spent at the Gossart exhibition, we were contemplating lunch and wending our way back to the Great Hall when we stumbled upon a small gallery (an anteroom, really) that contained a jewel of an exhibit -- the sort of thing the Met presents with little fanfare but in any other setting would be a blockbuster: "Vienna Circa 1780: An Imperial Silver Service Rediscovered." The display cases contained dozens of solid silver plates, candelabra, wine coolers, tureens, etc. etc., as well as porcelain-handled sterling flatware, and stiffly-starched napkins elaborately folded into fantastical shapes. This magnificent silver was made for Duke Albert Casimir of Sachsen-Teschen and his bride, Archduchess Marie Christine, daughter of the Empress Maria Theresa, and the only one of that formidable monarch's children who was allowed to marry for love rather than dynastic concerns (unlike her more famous sibling, Marie Antoinette). Worth a return visit when I have more time, but in the meanwhile, I treated myself to the catalogue:
We had planned to continue to the Neue Gallerie (the museum of late 19th/early 20th century Austrian/German art) a few blocks away after lunch, but as we were already afflicted with severe cases of "Museum Feet" we fell into a cab and headed home! ("Museum Feet" is the strange condition whereby every 100 feet traversed inside a museum = one mile run in the N.Y. Marathon.)