The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (aka the Met), in which His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attended a reception ceremony held on the occasion of announcing a new partnership with Qatar Museums, is one of the most famous and largest museums in the world, and contains relics from all civilisations The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York stands in pride on the Hudson River with a marvellous blending of modern and Medieval architectures.
The more than 150-year-old museum houses valuable collections of unique cultural treasures, ranging from paintings to valuable collections of European art, most notably from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and others during and after the Renaissance age, passing through the masterpieces of art related to the Baroque era. The pieces on display range from Romanticism and Impressionism to the modern trends of cubism, surrealism and abstract expressionism.
As one of the most famous and largest museums in the world, the Met contains relics from all civilisations, and offers more than 5,000 years of art from all over the world. It also allows millions of people to experience virtual travelling through various eras and civilizations with digitised collections dating back to historic ages and cultures.
The Met, since it was established, sought to connect all people with creativity, knowledge and ideas, and with each other, through its numerous galleries, unique exhibitions and exhibits that express new ideas, which made it more than just a space for collecting rare and beautiful artefacts.
Well known as the ‘encyclopedia of world art”, the Met includes 19 pavilions and receives nearly four million visitors annually. It has become a major destination for all visitors in New York City and world leaders during their participation in the annual sessions of the United Nations General Assembly who are keen to visit to find out about centuries-old cultural and artistic paths.
The Met was first limited to displaying European art and a few artefacts of American art, but over the years, its objects expanded to include large collections of art and antiques, with a particular pavilion dedicated to the art of decoration and American design, which reflected the phases of development of this art in the new continent with 12,000 pieces of local designs.
Architect Richard Morris Hunt, a graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, finished designing and completing the Met in its Gothic style in 1926, but new designs were continuously introduced until it gained its final design last year.
Fully distinguished from the modern architecture characterising the bustling city of New York with its skyscrapers with glass facades, the Met’s location and architectural style allures not only art lovers, but also lovers of designs and decorations of large palaces and fashion designs alike.
The artefact displays in the museum transcends the traditional and classical styles prevailing in the European museums, most notably the Louvre and the Prado in Paris and Madrid respectively.
The Met boasts owning the largest collection of Islamic art, with the pavilion of this art providing a comprehensive view of Islamic art and reflecting its development from the seventh century AD until the 19th century. The pavilion contains artworks representing different eras of Islamic art, not limited to Arabic calligraphy and miniatures and Islamic decorations, but also pieces of art that reflect the development of Islamic architecture, textile industry and the development of ceramic art, in addition to artworks from many Arab countries, Andalusia, India and the Arabian Peninsula and other regions.
The museums mission is not limited to its internal activities, but extends outside its walls through its cooperation with other museums, universities and cultural and artistic institutions to exchange experiences and exhibitions, provide technical assistance, and prepare qualified cadres to serve other museums. Among the exhibitions the Met held in a bid to inform the US public about the treasures of world museums were Impressionism : a centenary exhibition (1975), the Dresden Art Treasures (1978), the Masterpieces of Tutankhamun Exhibition (1978), the Masterpieces of the Kremlin Exhibition in Moscow (1978) and the Exhibition of Masterpieces of Antiquities of Tutankhamun (1978), the Vatican Collections (1983) and others.
As part of the attention it paid for the public, particularly artists and art students, the Met employs specialists to guide the public and clarify the characteristics of the activities, and provide the most historical and artistic information and explanations for the displayed works. It also prepares publications that help establish this information and show educational films as well as temporary exhibitions that help young people to enhance their artistic and historical cultures, in addition to introducing sections that preserve artefacts that did not go on view to help researchers and historians when needed.
In the context of further supporting its external exposure, the Met holds several partnerships with different parties around the world, including the State of Qatar. In its Jerusalem, 10001400: Every People Under Heaven Exhibition, held from Nov. 2016 to Jan. 2017, the Met displayed seven pieces from the permanent collection of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.
This landmark exhibition demonstrated the key role that the Holy City of Jerusalem played in shaping the art of the period from 1000 to 1400 through displaying 200 art works borrowed from different museums around the world, including the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. Among the artworks loaned from the Museum of Islamic Art to the Met were a brass tray, a silver basin, an incense burner and an incense box made of copper, gold and silver, all of which date back to the seventh century.
The US-based Qatar Foundation International (QFI), a member of the Qatar Foundation, has partnered with the Met to promote cultural exchange and understanding with the aim of organising student visits to the museum’s exhibition of Islamic art, and hosting artists twice in each semester.
HE Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Qatar Museums Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani expressed her pride that Qatar Museums was sharing its masterpieces of the Museum of Islamic Art and other holdings with the world, hailing the cooperation and partnerships as an affirmation of Qatar Museums’ commitment to unrelenting cooperation with many major museums and cultural institutions worldwide, in a bid to encourage and enhance cultural exchange.
Qatar Museums constantly cooperates with cultural institutions around the world to host exhibitions and lend works of art from its multiple collections, most notably the “Pearls: Treasures from the Seas and the Rivers” Exhibition, which it organised in different countries such as China, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Japan and Brazil. This collaboration also includes the introduction of orientalist artworks to the world, the loan of more than 160 pieces of art from the collections of Qatar Museums to go on view in a huge exhibition at the Art Gallery of the Banco Santander Foundation in Spain which contributes to highlighting Qatar’s openness to the world and increasing awareness and understanding of the country’s heritage and history.
The Met’s main building is one of the world’s largest art galleries, at about 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) in area. The Met maintains more than three million pieces of modern and ancient art. It is also home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments and antique weapons and armour from around the world and 36 thousands artefacts from ancient Egypt. (QNA)
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