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Although most buildings in the Near East from late antiquity and the early Islamic period (between around 500 and 1000) do not survive fully intact, the fragments that do remain help shed light on the ingenious ways that artisans transformed architectural surfaces to create sumptuous interiors and monumental façades. Three aesthetic principles that were especially important to the design of architectural ornament in the Byzantine, Sasanian, and early Islamic traditions are highlighted in the exhibition Pattern, Color, Light: Architectural Ornament in the Near East (500–1000), opening July 20 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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A stunning presentation of American folk art made primarily in rural areas of New England, the Midwest, and the South between 1800 and 1925 opened at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City March 28. "A Shared Legacy: Folk Art in America" celebrates art rooted in personal and cultural identity and made by self-taught or minimally trained artists and artisans. Drawn from the prestigious collection of Barbara L. Gordon, "A Shared Legacy" highlights 63 outstanding examples of American folk art. Vivid portraits, still lifes, and landscapes, as well as distinctive examples of painted furniture from the German American community, carved boxes, sculpture and decorative arts of the highest quality offer an introduction to more than a century of America’s rich and diverse folk art traditions and exemplify the breadth of American creative expression.

Published in News
Thursday, 03 May 2012 22:41

Engraving the Character of Artisans

Thirteen artisans gathered in New York on November 17, 1785, to establish the General Society of Mechanics & Tradesmen, a craftsmen’s mutual aid organization intended to assist brethren in need and promote the significance of manufacturing to the local economy. Less than a year later, when the group’s ranks had swelled three-fold, providing confidence and security for the society’s sense of purpose, a committee was formed to commission a membership certificate suitable to its mission. An early printing of this document survives in the Winterthur collection (Fig. 1) as a testament to the ambitious and civic-minded tradesmen who established the association.
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