Muslim Heritage: Islamic treasures on display

Masterworks of Islamic art will once again be on view at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, which next week reopens an exhaustive installation following an eight-year renovation. New York’s biggest and most comprehensive art museum tomorrow unveils its New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia.

Refurbished at a cost of some $50 million, the 15 galleries will display 1,200 breathtaking works from the Middle East and North Africa meticulously arranged in a stunning new exhibition space.

“I think that what these galleries provide is a much better understanding of the complexity and also the interconnection between different cultures within Islamic art,” said curator Mechthild Baumeister.

“If you think about the art in these galleries, it spans 13 centuries,” she said. “It’s important to go back in history to understand the development of a culture, development of a style, interaction between cultures. Nothing exists in isolation”.

The museum’s galleries have been refurbished and re-envisioned to provide a show-stopping setting for the Metropolitan’s Islamic art collection, one of the largest anywhere in the world.

‘The opening of these extraordinary new galleries underscores our mission as an encyclopedic museum and provides a unique opportunity to convey the grandeur and complexity of Islamic art and culture at a pivotal moment in world history,’ said Met director Thomas Campbell. The 15 new galleries trace the course of Islamic civilisation over 13 centuries, covering a broad geographic expanse encompassing the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Central and South Asia.

“This new geographic orientation signals a revised perspective on this important collection, recognising that the monumentality of Islam did not create a single, monolithic artistic expression, but instead connected a vast geographic expanse through centuries of change and cultural influence,” Mr Campbell said.

“The public will find galleries filled with magnificent works of art that evoke the plurality of the Islamic tradition and the vast cross-fertilization of ideas and artistic forms that has shaped our shared cultural heritage.”

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Categories: Muslim Heritage

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