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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 548

The MET : Gallery 548 : European Sculpture, 1700–1900

Art From Us, Museum Guide #652

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 #652 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum NY’s Gallery 548. Showcasing a collection of European Sculpture, 1700–1900.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Andromeda and the Sea Monster, Domenico Guidi, 1694.
  2. La Crainte des traits de l’amour, Jean-Louis Lemoyne, 1739-40.
  3. A Hypocrite and a Sladerer, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, ca. 1770-83.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #652

Gallery 548 at the MET contains marble and bronze sculptures depicting both mythological and historical themes. Today let us discuss and compare bronze and marble as sculpting mediums.

Sculpting with Bronze

Bronze is the oldest alloy known to man and has been used for creating sculpture through the ages. Bronze sculptures are created using a mould, typically made of baked clay. Molten metal is then poured into the mould. Once the metal re-hardens, the earthen mould is broken open to reveal the final sculpture.

The medium also has a peculiarity wherein exposure to the elements causes formation of patina on its surface. This gives the work a much sought-after raw, antique-like look.

“Bronze is the mirror of the form; wine, of the heart.”
― Aeschylus

Sculpting with Marble

Marble is not as forgiving a medium as bronze. A chip in marble once made cannot be fundone. Sculptors must therefore envision their work (and often make terracotta figurines of their vision) before they start sculpting in marble. The translucency of this medium evokes human flesh. This is perhaps one of the reasons why great artists through the ages have chosen marble as their preferred medium for sculpting. As the great Michaelangelo stated –

“The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.”

― Michelangelo

Gallery 548 at the MET is a definite must-see for students, scholars and lovers of European sculpture. So don’t miss it!

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