Category Archives: history

THE DARK SECRET OF THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART’S CROSS

Featured Image: Apse from San Martin at Fuentidue – The Cloisters – Metropolitan Museum of Art – Courtesy of Spanish


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The Cloisters

Towering high atop the bluffs above the Hudson Heights and Inwood neighborhoods of Manhattan, The Cloisters museum is home to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s stunning collection of medieval sculpture, architecture, and decorative art.

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Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan

Constructed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the towering ramparts of this Romanesque castle were built from the ruins of a number of French abbeys that were painstakingly transported stone-by-stone to this location on the northern edge of New York City.  Situated in historic Fort Tryon Park, with its gardens and breathtaking views of the City and the Palisades, The Cloisters offers a peaceful sanctuary from city life and is itself a work of art.

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The Bury St. Edmunds Cross

Deep inside its galleries, in a small and otherwise unremarkable display, stands an ivory cross that legendary Met director Thomas Hoving considered it to be the single most fantastic and unique work of art to survive the Dark Ages.  Hoving became obsessed with acquiring the cross, with its elaborate motifs and delicate figures carved in deep relief, that he would pay the largest sum of money the Met had ever paid for any single work of art at the time.

Continue reading THE DARK SECRET OF THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART’S CROSS

GOLDEN AGE OF THE POSTER, 1880-1918

Industrial revolution advancements in printing technology – including the mass production of metal lithographic plates over the traditional limestone – provided artists with an efficient medium to apply bold colors, elaborate typography, and stunning imagery to the printed page.  The Minneapolis College of Art & Design shares their remarkable collection of pre-World War I posters from artists including Alphonse Mucha, Jules Chéret, Eugène Grasset, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

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Paper Airplane

Dutch ‘Tulip Fever’ or ‘Tulip Mania’ was neither Fever nor Mania. Discuss.

cropped-logo1.pngOften used to describe the madness of crowds, the dot-com bubble, and most recently the modern day gold rush for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, 17th-century Dutch Tulip Mania has become the go-to case study illustrating the dangers of wanton speculation and how it leads to a spectacular decline, bubble burst, or crash.

The Smithsonian takes a look at the veracity of such references and finds them all to be little more than rubbish.  We tend to agree.

Image: The Tulip Folly, Wikimedia Commons