March 2009 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with Director Thomas P. Campbell

Greetings, I’m Thomas Campbell, the director of
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and I’d like to tell you
a little bit about the rich offerings
we have on in the Met’s galleries
at the moment, March 2009. I’m standing in the Lehman Wing, which is where we have
an exhibition “Pierre Bonnard:
The Late Interiors,” the first exhibition
to focus entirely on Bonnard’s radiant
late interiors and still-life paintings. The artist created
these dazzling works over extended periods of time by applying layer after layer
of paint in rich colors. In the end, they are as much a
reflection of memory and emotion as direct observation, and they anticipate the works of the Abstract Expressionist
artists of subsequent years. “Pierre Bonnard” runs
through April 19. “Raphael to Renoir” is the first
comprehensive showing of European Old Master
and 19th-century drawings from the distinguished
Swiss collection of Jean Bonna, on view at the Met
through April the 26th. Mr. Bonna has amassed one of the finest drawing
collections in our time, and this is a rare opportunity
to see 120 of his works by both renowned
and lesser-known artists. The collection ranges from works
by Renaissance masters, such as Carpaccio and Raphael, to Baroque masters, including Canaletto,
Rembrandt, and Lorrain, to exquisite works by masters
of the Rococo era, such as Watteau, Boucher,
and Fragonard, all the way
to the Early Modern period, with works by Gauguin,
van Gogh, and Seurat. Some are topographical, some are preparatory sketches
for paintings and tapestries– such as this exquisite
line drawing by Raphael– and others were created
as an end in themselves. This really is a show
with something for everyone. The Chinese word “ming”
translates as “brilliant.” So it’s no surprise
that arts of the Ming Dynasty, China’s age of brilliance, on view through
September the 13th, displays a rich diversity
of artworks from the celebrated
and prosperous Ming Dynasty, which ran from the mid-14th
through the mid-17th century. One of the true knockouts
in the show is Xie Huan’s “Elegant Gathering
in the Apricot Garden,” from about 1437, showing nine dignitaries in the
garden of a high-ranking scholar looking at paintings
and calligraphy, composing poetry,
and playing chess. It’s an extraordinary document
of who these people were and who they aspired to be. Across the way is a watercolor of plum blossoms
covered with snow, a haunting work
that is almost abstract in its treatment
of line and color. 350 extraordinary works created
in the second millennium BC for royal palaces,
temples, and tombs from Mesopotamia, Syria,
and Anatolia to Cyprus, Egypt,
and the Aegean, comprise the exhibition
“Beyond Babylon.” These objects of high artistry, sometimes displaying
an extraordinary fusion of cultural styles, reflect the sophisticated
trade network and the precious materials that were exchanged at the time
through this part of the world. The exhibition will be
on view through March the 15th. The Metropolitan welcomes more than four and a half
million visitors a year from around the world, who come to visit
exhibitions like these, or to visit our collections, some two million pieces
spanning five millennia. Thousands of people
take photographs of these works of art,
or of themselves, in the galleries, and post them
on the free website Flickr. We recently asked
some of these photographers if we could use their images
as the basis of a new campaign to promote the richness
of our collections and the variety
of the programs we offer here. We’re calling the campaign
“It’s Time We Met.” And here are some
of the inspired and often humorous views created by our public of their friends and family
in the galleries. We encourage you to visit
the Metropolitan Museum whenever you can to experience our exhibitions,
our collections, and our programs firsthand. Thank you.

2 thoughts on “March 2009 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art with Director Thomas P. Campbell

  1. Could someone tell me what the connotation for "The Dining Room on the Garden" is if there is one thank you very much

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