Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — MET Museum Exhibit

Babylon and Beyond

This bronze and gold figure from around 1300 B.C., came from a shipwreck.

This bronze and gold figure from around 1300 B.C., came from a shipwreck.

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is the sole spot for Beyond Babylon exhibition. Some 300 artifacts from royal palaces, temples, tombs, and even shipwrecks were recovered and brought out for us to see. These objects provide insight into the movements of people, artworks and luxury goods across the ancient Near East and Mediterranean during the Middle and Late Bronze Ages (2000-1200 B.C.). At the MET, these adventures begin in Babylon, the melting pot city made powerful by Hammurabi in the second millennium B.C. Because many of these works have either only recently been excavated or have never been shown abroad, “Beyond Babylon” is a remarkable opportunity for the public to experience the rich artistic and cultural traditions of this period. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on Babylon and Beyond

MET: Beyond Babylon

This exhibition was like walking into a time machine. It was an amazing display of various pieces as varied as any collection could be. The pieces ranged from golden daggers to vessels found from the ancient wreckage of a sunken ship. It is not often that you get to be surrounded by pieces that are from the 18th Century B.C. Each and every piece was so unique and unlike anything that I had ever seen. The pieces came from the ancient Assyrians, Mesopotamians and other cultures that no longer exists, except through their relics. [Read more →]

December 16, 2008   Comments Off on MET: Beyond Babylon

Profane and Sensual Love

           Currently on display at the Special Exhibitions Galleries on the 2nd floor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the exhibition titled, “Art and Love in Renaissance Italy.” The Italian Renaissance was a time of incredibly high achievement. It is during this time that some of the greatest artists were discovered including Michelangelo, Raphael, and Donatello. Italian Renaissance put intense focus and emphasis on love, marriage, and family, which they depicted through very monumental, clear, and beautiful images.  As written in the entrance of the exhibit, the works in this gallery take an “important detour from the path of marriage and family to explore Renaissance artists responses to the sensual aspects of love.” [Read more →]

December 15, 2008   Comments Off on Profane and Sensual Love

Portraying Love

     The Renaissance in Italy was an era filled with the sweet sensations of love. It was the era of poets, musicians and bards – all of whom created art in order to express the wonders and tragedies of love. In addition to all of these well-known mediums of affection, there was a massive collection of paintings, pottery, sculpture, jewelry, and tapestry created to depict the theme of love as well. Art and Love in Renaissance Italy, a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that runs until February 16, 2009, explores the ways in which artists utilized these mediums to portray the different aspects of love – from courtship and marriage to adultery. [Read more →]

December 15, 2008   Comments Off on Portraying Love

Beyond Babylon

How can we relive the past? I do not mean fifty years ago, or even a hundred. I mean four thousand years! Most people wonder in awe about what life was like such a long time ago. Did humans look the same as they do now? What kind of activities did people engage in? What did they wear? With new and innovative technologies emerging at what seems like lightning speed, uncovering the past seems like a more and more feasible feat. Thanks in large part to Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman and The Hagop Kevorkian Fund, as well as other sponsors, a new exhibition titled “Beyond Babylon” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was made possible. This intriguing exhibit takes us on an adventure through the Mesopotamian region in the Second Millennium B.C, showcasing ancient jewelry, weapons, and texts.
Walking through the doorway of the exhibit, it feels like you enter into a whole new world. In stark contrast to the off-white walls of the rest of the museum, the walls at “Beyond Babylon” are colored a bold blue. It is a good recreation of the old world. The ceilings are high and the doorways are massive, being a good representation of the word Babylon itself, which when disassembled into its parts means “gateway of deities”. It was clear indeed that deities had a powerful influence on the people of the Mesopotamian region in those days. On exhibit were various religious figures. Also, uncovered from Egypt during the Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12-13, was a wand. It was decorated with fantastic creatures and deities. Supposedly, it had a protective function. Circular motions were made with it over children to protect them during the night. It was made from beautiful hippopotamus ivory, as were many of the artifacts from this time.
Besides wands and such, weapons are also a big part of the exhibit. One particularly beautiful weapon was an Axe inscribed with Ahmos. It is made of gold, electrum, copper alloy, semi-precious stones, and wood. This battle-axe exemplifies the ingenuity of the people in those days, as well as their artistic and creative ability. This battle-axe can be considered as much a weapon as an artistic piece. Probably one of the most revealing artifacts of the time is The Uluburun Shipwreck. This ship was carrying 17 tons of cargo and 15,000 artifacts from 12 different cultures, including the Canaanite, Mycenaean, Cypriot, Egyptian, Nubian, Baltic, northern Balkan, Kassite, and Assyrian. At the exhibit, inside a fake vessel, are housed horse training manuals, cups and vessels, helmets and armory, as well as glass and ceramics.
“Beyond Babylon” is an exciting and interactive exhibit. There is a ton of information available, including a short film. In a rather small space, the creators manage to display artifacts from over ten different cultures, and from over 4 thousand years ago. This exhibit is an educational experience where you can come pretty close to reliving the past.

December 15, 2008   1 Comment