Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Must See Museums: Italy in NYC

I won't make it to Italy again before the end of the year, but I will be headed to New York City, and I will head straight to the Metropolitan Museum of Art .  This fall the Met features several exhibits that bring a little bit of Italy to NYC just in time for the holidays:

Now through December 14
We so often think of Italian Renaissance artists and the Baroque forgetting that Italy continues to give the world great artists like Giorgio Morandi.  Morandi painted landscapes and still-lifes, but in his later years his work became more and more abstract.

November 18, 2008 - February 16, 2009
But perhaps you are longing for the Italian Renaissance?  The Met promises an exhibit of sensuality, love, marriage, and seduction.  Featuring jewelry and portraits, glassware and birth trays, as well as "drawings and prints of amorous subjects" Art and Love in Renaissance Italy promises to be a sweet Valentine no matter when you go to see it.  

November 25, 2008 - April 12, 2009
Not all that long ago, literacy was an expensive luxury.
"To illustrate the dramatic impact of the printing press, consider this:  forty-five scribs could, under ideal conditions, produce a maximum of one hundred manuscripts in a one-year period.  The first printing press in Rome, run by two Germans, Sweynheym and Pannartz, printed twelve thousand books in its first five years of production.  By the 1480s, there were more than one hundred presses in Italy."
On one of my first trips to Florence I was stunned to see an illuminated manuscript -- gorgeous and detailed -- that had been horribly damaged in Florence's flood of 1966.  Imagine the hours of labor that had been simply washed away!  The Met's exhibit of Italian Choir Books focuses on music books -- all hand-copied and beautifully illustrated.  It is a profound reminder of the expense and luxury of literacy before the invention of the printing press.
November 25, 2008 - January, 6, 2009
Regardless of your holiday traditions, I urge you to go see the Met's Christmas Tree and the Neapolitan Baroque Creche .  Italians have a rich tradition of beautiful creches.  In fact, during the Christmas season places like Piazza Navona are filled with stalls, each selling individual pieces for creches from the Holy Family and the traditional donkeys to tiny baskets of fish and teeny ducks.  The Met's creche is from the eighteenth century.  It is truly beautiful!

And while you are in New York, I'll remind you about one more exhibit:  

Through January 4, 2009
The Louise and Bernard Palitz Gallery at Syracuse University's Lubin House in Manhattan has an incredible exhibit:  Michelangelo : the Man and the Myth.  You know how I feel about Michelangelo.  Well, this exhibit includes sketches, letters, and poems in his own hand.  The collection comes from Casa Buonarroti in Florence and brings a bit of the great artist to the US.  

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