Religious treasure Nearly fifty rich works of art and craft from medieval Jerusalem, the worldly focus of religion for Christians, Jews and Muslims over 1000-1400, have been borrowed from the city’s present religious communities to share the spotlight at the Met with 200 works in total that include tomb statuary, remarkable huge choir books from the Franciscans with the four line staff of the time (above), ornate boxes for relics, very fine large lamps, goblets, bracelets, wedding rings, maps, bottles, crosses, mats, pillar capitals, bibles and Qu’rans all mellowed in the glow of deep religiosity, in a unique collection where the sole vast gap is an imaginative one, the legendary Temple of the Mount destroyed by the Romans in AD70 which was never rebuilt but which lives on vividly in the memory of Jews today, and where the attached exhibition shop allows visitors to buy their own reminders of how religion inspires unmatchable art and artifacts, including carpets and colored glasses, and guides to all three religions which competed over Jerusalem then and since.
September 26, 2016–January 8, 2017
The Tisch Galleries, Gallery 899
Monday, September 19, 10:00 am–noon
Beginning around the year 1000, Jerusalem attained unprecedented significance as a location, destination, and symbol to people of diverse faiths from Iceland to India. Multiple competitive and complementary religious traditions, fueled by an almost universal preoccupation with the city, gave rise to one of the most creative periods in its history.
“A kind of Jerusalem fever gripped much of the world from about 1000 to 1400. Across three continents, thousands made their way to the Holy City—from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions alike. Generals and their armies fought over it. Merchants profited from it. Patrons, artists, pilgrims, poets, and scholars drew inspiration from it. Focusing their attention on this singular spot, they praised its magic, endowed its sacred buildings, and created luxury goods for residents and visitors. As a result, the Holy City shaped the art of this period in significant ways.”
Opening at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 26, the landmark exhibition Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven will demonstrate the key role that the Holy City, sacred to the three Abrahamic faiths, played in shaping the art of this period. In these centuries, Jerusalem was home to more cultures, religions, and languages than ever before. Through times of peace as well as war, Jerusalem remained a constant source of inspiration that resulted in art of great beauty and fascinating complexity.