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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 401

The MET : Gallery 401 : The Assyrian Royal Court

Art From Us, Museum Guide #599

Art From Us presents a must-see Museum Guide daily, where we showcase specific artworks in specific museums – from across the globe. Today, for Art From Us, Museum Guide #599 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET) NY’s Gallery 401. Showcasing a collection of The Assyrian Royal Court

The three works in focus are :

  1. Human -headed Winged Bull (Lamassu), ca. 883 – 859 BC.
  2. Relief Panel, ca. 883 – 859 BC.
  3. Relief Panel, ca. 883 – 859 BC.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #599

Welcome to the Art From Us, Museum Guide #599. The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 401 has been designed to echo the architectural beauty of the Assyrian palace of Ashurnasirpal II. The ancient palace was located in Nimrud (Kalhu) in northern Mesopotamia.

Today, we propose to discuss this mighty Assyrian King and his reign.

Ashurnasirpal II

Ashurnasirpal II reigned between 884 and 859 BC. He succeeded  his father, Tukulti-Ninurta II, to become the third king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

Ashurnasipral II was more defense in his style of ruling, than he was offensive. On ascending the throne, the Assyrian king inherited a very stable empire. This was owing to the treaty with Babylon signed during the reign of his grandfather, along with the stability ensured by his fathers military forces. Ashurnasipral II therefore only had to preserve an already vast kingdom, as opposed to planning its expansion.

This Assyrian king was also particularly notorious for his inhumane treatment of delinquents. Skinning and nailing were commonplace during his reign.

The royal palace that is evoked in this particular gallery at the MET was built on the orders of Ashurnasirpal II. He the palace built at Kalhu, and wanted it to be grand unlike any other before it. While Kalhu had once been an important city for trade and commerce, it was dilapidated when the royal palace was ordered to be built. Thus, apart from building the royal court, Ashurnasirpal II is also credited for resurrecting the dead city.

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