Eyes to behold stunning artworks in world-class museums.

The Majestic Lions of The Metropolitan Museum

4 min read
The Majestic Lions of The Metropolitan Museum

Lions are a large, powerful species of cat that is well-muscled, with a large head, short legs, and size and appearance that varies considerably between the sexes. Lions are unique among the cats in living in family groups or prides. Lions were once the most widespread large land mammals, ranging throughout Eurasia, Africa, and North America. Today, lions are listed as Vulnerable, and remaining only in fragmented populations in Sub-Saharan Africa and western India. There are numerous artworks depicting lions in The Metropolitan Museum, many of which date back to the medieval period. These artworks provide insight into how different cultures and religions have represented lions over time.

Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children

Italian, Naples 1598–1680 Rome / The Met

    Gian Lorenzo Bernini was the heroic central figure in Italian Baroque sculpture.
    The influence of his father, the Florentine-born Pietro, can be seen here in the buoyant forms and cottony texture of the Bacchanal.
    The liveliness and strongly accented diagonals, however, are the distinctive contribution of the young Gian Lorenzo.
    Although about eighteen when he made this work, he already displayed what would become a lifelong interest in the rendering of emotional and spiritual exaltation.

Box with Romance Scenes

Medieval Art / The Met

    This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the Middle Ages is one of the most imposing examples to survive.
    The lid represents the assault on the metaphorical fortress, Castle of Love, with a tournament and knights catapulting roses.
    The left end depicts Tristan and Isolde spied upon by King Mark, and a hunter killing a unicorn trapped by a virgin.
    The right end shows a knight rescuing a lady from the Wildman (Wodehouse), and Galahad receiving the key to the castle of maidens.
    At the back are Lancelot and the lion, Lancelot crossing the sword bridge, Gawain asleep on the magic bed, and the maidens welcoming their deliverer.
    The newly discovered front panel (1988.16), lost since before 1800, is a poignant depiction of the love tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe (two scenes at right) and Aristotle teaching Alexander the Great and Phyllis riding on the back of Aristotle (two scenes at left).

Doge Alvise Mocenigo (1507–1577) Presented to the Redeemer

Italian, Venice 1518/19–1594 Venice / The Met

    This unfinished sketch records one stage of Tintoretto's preparation of a large votive painting of Doge Alvise Mocenigo destined for a room (the Sala del Collegio) in the Doge's Palace in Venice.
    Mocenigo ruled at the time of Venice's great victory at sea over the Turks, the Battle at Lepanto of 1571, represented in the sketch by the ships in the background, and during the ferocious plague of 1576 (which killed the painter Titian), after which he pledged to build the great church of the Redentore designed by Palladio.
    In the sketch the artist mapped out the principal figures, including rudimentary ideas for the figure of Saint Mark to the left of the kneeling Doge, and painted the silhouette of the saint's lion on a dark ground in the lower left.
    The beautiful figure of Christ at the left was completely rethought in the final composition.

The Nativity with Donors and Saints Jerome and Leonard

Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges / The Met

    David focuses attention on the mystery of the Incarnation - that is, Christ's birth and sacrifice for the redemption of humankind.
    Despite the joyful moment depicted, the figures all wear somber expressions, foreshadowing Christ's eventual suffering and death.
    The sheaf of grain parallel to the manger refers to John 6:41:"I am the bread which came down from Heaven."

Lions in a Mountainous Landscape

French, Rouen 1791–1824 Paris / The Met

    This painting is an extraordinary example of Gericault's spontaneous handling of paint.
    The painting is unfinished, and was left in a state known as an esquisse, or sketch.
    The painting was known only by means of a replica (Musée du Louvre, Paris) until it was acquired by the Museum.

Barberini Cabinet

European Sculpture and Decorative Arts / The Met

    The arms are those of a Barberini cardinal, probably Maffeo Barberini (1568 - 1644), who became Pope Urban VIII in 1623.
    The scenes from Aesop's Fables are after woodcut illustrations in the edition by Francisco Tuppo published in Naples in 1485.
    The arms are those of a Barberini cardinal, probably Maffeo Barberini (1568 - 1644), who became Pope Urban VIII in 1623.

Modern Rome

Italian, Piacenza 1691–1765 Rome / The Met

    Among Panini's most brilliant inventions are Modern Rome and its pendant, which cleverly contrive to show the famous monuments of the city as paintings arranged in a sumptuous gallery.
    They were commissioned by the Count de Stainville, later Duke de Choiseul, ambassador to Rome from 1753 to 1757; he is shown seated in an armchair.

From 14th Century To 15th Century

From 14th Century To 15th Century

During the 14th and 15th centuries, artists in Europe began to break away from the traditional Gothic style. They began to experiment with new techniques and styles, resulting in a period of great creativity and innovation in the arts. Some of the most famous artworks from this period include the paintings of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the sculptures of Donatello. Box with Romance Scenes     This coffret illustrated with scenes from Arthurian and other courtly literature of the M
-5 min read
From 1819 To 1826

From 1819 To 1826

The 19th century was a time of great change in the world of art. Artists began to experiment with new styles and media, and the art world was forever changed as a result. Some of the most famous artists of the time include Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Pablo Picasso. The Falls of Niagara     The painting is of Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.     The painting is based on a vignette of the falls from a map of North America published by Henry S. Tanner in 1822. Heroic Landscape w
-4 min read
From 1787 To 1800

From 1787 To 1800

The 18th century was a time of great change in the world of art. New styles and genres emerged, and artists began to experiment with new techniques and materials. The art of the 18th century reflected the changing times, and the growing interest in the natural world and the human form. Elizabeth Farren (born about 1759, died 1829), Later Countess of Derby     The Irish actress Elizabeth Farren made her London debut in 1777 and soon became one of the most popular comic performers of the day.  
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