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Art From Us MUSEUM GUIDE : The Metropolitan Museum of Art : Gallery 550

The MET : Gallery 550 : Italian Baroque Sculpture and Decorative Arts, 1600–1750

Art From Us, Museum Guide #654

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 #654 the spotlight is on the Metropolitan Museum NY’s Gallery 550. Showcasing a collection of Italian Baroque Sculpture and Decorative Arts, 1600–1750.

The three works in focus are :

  1. Holy- water stoup with relief of Mary of Egypt, Giovanni Giardini, ca. 1702.
  2. The Repose in Egypt, Luisa Roldan, ca. 1690.
  3. The Ecstasy of Saint Mary Magdalene, Luisa Roldan, ca. 1690.

The significance of the 3 works chosen for Art From Us, Museum Guide #654

The artefacts in this gallery were produced in the Baroque style.

What is Baroque?

Baroque is a movement in visual arts and music that peaked around the 17th century.

Best explained by the Victoria & Albert Museum :

“The exuberant Baroque style originated in Italy and influenced all of Europe. English designers found new ideas in printed books of Continental ornament. Dutch and French craftspeople who settled in England also had a great influence on the development of the style. A sense of drama and a love of the ornate characterise the Baroque. Interiors were luxurious with rich velvet and damask furnishings and gilt-wood and marquetry furniture. The style remained fashionable until about 1725.”

The prominent motifs of the style include flowers, leaves and putti (chubby infants). Oftentimes, in the case of commissioned objects and architecture, the monogram of the owner was also included into the design. This was a signifier of both ownership and extravagance.

Rococo was a movement born as a reaction against the formalism of Baroque. If you find yourself at the MET, make sure to visit both Galleries 550 and 551 to compare and contrast the two movements and get a taste of 17th century Europe.

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