The Morgan Library & Museum

The Morgan Library & Museum Once library of financier Pierpont Morgan—now a museum, research library, music venue, architectural
(1854)

The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in the United States. Today it is a museum, independent research library, music venue, architectural landmark, and historic site. A century after its founding, the Morgan maintains a unique position in the cultural life of New York City and is considered one of its greatest treasures.

Henry VIII may be best known for his six wives, but he had even more Bibles. This 1539 edition of the Great Bibles was c...
01/08/2024

Henry VIII may be best known for his six wives, but he had even more Bibles. This 1539 edition of the Great Bibles was commissioned by Henry VIII’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell and sanctioned by the king himself. Cromwell ordered that copies should be made publicly available in churches. The woodcut explains the publication of this book: Archbishop Cranmer is shown on the left, Cromwell appears on the right, and above them Henry VIII sits enthroned in state, handing out the Word of God while his grateful subjects call out, “Long Live the King.”
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The Byble in Englyshe . . . Truly Translated after the Veryte of the Hebrue and Greke Textes, by ye Dylygent Study of Dyuerse
Excellent Learned Men
London: Richard Grafton and
Edward Whitchurch, April 1539
The Morgan Libary & Museum, PML 911, part IV, fol. 1r. Photography by Janny Chiu

This year, the Morgan Library & Museum is celebrating 100 years as an institution! For our hundredth birthday, we’ll be ...
01/07/2024

This year, the Morgan Library & Museum is celebrating 100 years as an institution! For our hundredth birthday, we’ll be sharing highlights from our expansive collection across our many, diverse departments. Stay tuned all year for 100 gems from our collection!

Item #1 of the Morgan’s 100 Centennial Collection Highlights is the Gutenberg Bible. The invention of printing is commonly credited to Johann Gutenberg, who developed the technique of casting metal types and composing them letter by letter, line by line to produce pages ready for the press where they could be inked and printed on sheets of paper or vellum. To exploit this invention, he set up one workshop, or possibly two, in Mainz, Germany, and raised a considerable sum of money for the production of the Bible, which was completed around 1455. Bibliographers believe that Gutenberg and his successors printed between 120 and 135 copies of the Bible on paper and between 40 and 45 copies on vellum, of which nearly 50 copies survive though not all are in good condition. A complete copy contains the Latin Vulgate text of the Bible in 1,282 pages, usually bound in two stout volumes.

Each of the three copies at the Morgan has a special story to tell about the design and manufacture of this famous book. Their testimony is all the more valuable because scholars have had to base their conjectures about Gutenberg's business dealings and production methods on just a few tantalizing documents.
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Biblia latina, [Gutenberg Bible] [Mainz] : [Printer of the 42-line Bible (Johann Gutenberg) and Johann Fust], [about 1454-1455], PML 12, vol. I, fol. 303v-304r. The Morgan Library & Museum, PML 12 vol. I, fol. 303v-304r. Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2013.

Coming soon! "Seen Together: Acquisitions in Photography" showcases over forty previously unexhibited works acquired by ...
01/06/2024

Coming soon!

"Seen Together: Acquisitions in Photography" showcases over forty previously unexhibited works acquired by the Morgan’s Department of Photography since its founding in 2012. The pieces selected, and their thematic arrangements, reflect the department’s two highest priorities: first, to build a photography collection that converses with other collections at the Morgan, including drawings, printed books, and literary manuscripts; and second, to draw from widely varied historical contexts and traditions for photographs that collectively tell larger stories about the medium.

One wall of the exhibition features eighteen photographs of prominent figures from many creative disciplines, notably visual art (Yayoi Kusama, Marcel Duchamp, Saul Steinberg), literature (Marianne Moore, Jack Kerouac), performance (Yoko Ono, Harlem Renaissance dancer Edna Guy), and music (Louis Hardin, aka Moondog). Visually inventive photography of artists—transcending “portraiture” in the familiar sense—forms a major ongoing focus for the department. It has grown out of two early initiatives: the 2007 acquisition of seventy-one photographs by Irving Penn and Diane Arbus portraying artists collected by the Morgan and the 2013 launch of the Peter Hujar Collection, which today numbers over 150 works.

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This exhibition is organized by Joel Smith, Richard L. Menschel Curator and Department Head of Photography.
Seen Together: Acquisitions in Photography is supported by the Margaret T. Morris Fund for Americana and the J. W. Kieckhefer Foundation.

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Joe Rudko, Stage (detail), 2017, 32 x 45 inches Gelatin silver print collage. Purchased as the gift of Richard and Ronay Menschel in memory of James M. Smith 2022.136. Courtesy of the artist and Von Lintel Gallery, Los Angeles.

Want to know your fortune? 🔮 Maybe Apollo can help. The n**e male figure at lower right of this sketch is an early idea ...
01/05/2024

Want to know your fortune? 🔮 Maybe Apollo can help. The n**e male figure at lower right of this sketch is an early idea for the figure of Apollo, holding aloft in his left hand what we know from the final fresco to be a statuette of Fortune. As in the oil sketch, a woman supports him, grasping his knee. The other two figures, however, do not appear in the painting and are presumably part of an unexecuted scheme.

"Spirit and Invention: Drawings by Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo" closes January 28th!
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Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
Studies of Apollo and Other Figures, 1752
Pen and brown ink and wash
The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1909; IV, 137

Is it moral to make money using money? In this medieval manuscript, the fertility of the saintly figures is contrasted w...
01/04/2024

Is it moral to make money using money? In this medieval manuscript, the fertility of the saintly figures is contrasted with the sterility of coins. Many medieval thinkers, inspired by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, thought that money was sterile since it could not reproduce naturally like plants or animals. They condemned usurers and investors who made money multiply “against nature” and hoarded earnings rather than recirculating them and benefitting others.
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Visitation and Shower of Coins
Book of Hours
Illuminated by the Master of Sir
George Talbot
Belgium, Bruges, ca. 1500
The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, MS M.390, fols. 44v–45r. Photography by Janny Chiu.




First things first! Item number one in the Morgan Library’s list of manuscript accessions, The Lindau Gospels is a corne...
01/03/2024

First things first! Item number one in the Morgan Library’s list of manuscript accessions, The Lindau Gospels is a cornerstone of the Museum’s collection. The gold repoussé upper cover was probably not made for the manuscript, nor was the lower cover, equally magnificent but produced at an earlier date and in a different place. When and why the covers were brought together is a mystery. According to recent scholarship, scribes at St. Gall may have produced the manuscript to match the two disparate covers, prized possessions of the abbey, but the Gospels assemblage was somehow allowed to leave and then went to the Lindau nunnery nearby.


“Lindau Gospels,” in Latin
Switzerland, St. Gall, ca. 880 (manuscript)
Eastern France, ca. 870 (front cover)
Austria, Salzburg region, ca. 780–800 (back cover)
The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.1. Photography by Graham S. Haber

Introducing Free College Sundays! Starting this Sunday, January 7th!As part of our Centennial celebration, we are happy ...
01/02/2024

Introducing Free College Sundays! Starting this Sunday, January 7th!

As part of our Centennial celebration, we are happy to announce that the first Friday of every month will offer free admission for all college students with a valid student ID! We are also planning to have special programming related to our special exhibitions or permanent collection on these days. Plan your ticket via the link in our bio.

Tours for College Students:
11:30-12:30pm - Tour of Medieval Money with educator Catie Hernandez
1:30- 2:30pm - Tour of the McKim Library and Collection Highlights with educator Catie Hernandez
Docent tours for College Students:
12:30-1:30pm - Collection Highlights tour
2:00-3:00pm - Medieval Money tour

Photos by John Calabrese.

Happy New Year from the Morgan! In 2024, we celebrate our 100th year as a public institution, and we can't wait to share...
01/01/2024

Happy New Year from the Morgan! In 2024, we celebrate our 100th year as a public institution, and we can't wait to share the special exhibitions we have in store. Here's a small sneak peek of what's to come: among other things, we're exploring the life of Beatrix Potter, drawings by Walton Ford, and the life and legacy of our first director, Belle da Costa Greene.

We can't wait to see you in 2024!
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1. J. Pierpont Morgan’s Library, view from 36th Street. Courtesy of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York. © Brett Beyer, 2022.
2. Beatrix Potter (1866–1943), Mrs Rabbit pouring out the tea for Peter while her children look on, 1902-1907. Linder Bequest. Museum no. BP.468. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London, / courtesy of Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.
3. Walton Ford (b. 1960), Leipzig Study 2, 2018, watercolor, gouache, and ink over graphite on paper, 7 3/4 x 15 1/4 in. The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of the artist, 2019.230. (c) 2023 Walton Ford.
4. Clarence H. White (1871–1925), Belle da Costa Greene, 1911. Biblioteca Berenson, I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.







Should Old Acquaintance be forgot . . . Happy New Year's Eve from the Morgan! The full poem of Auld Lang Syne is handwri...
12/31/2023

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot . . . Happy New Year's Eve from the Morgan! The full poem of Auld Lang Syne is handwritten here in this letter, from the creator Robert Burns to the Scottish music collector George Thomson.

When introducing the song, Burns says: "The air is but mediocre; but the following song, the old song of the olden times, & which has never been in print, nor even in manuscript, untill I took it down from an old man's singing, is enough to recommend any air."

We hope the "air" of your New Year's Eve is joyful!
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Installation views: Robert Burns and "Auld Lang Syne, " December 9, 2011, through February 5, 2012, Thaw Gallery, Photography by Graham S. Haber, 2011.




What do you have planned for the new year, as we wrap up 2023?This illustration for January in a medieval calendar sugge...
12/30/2023

What do you have planned for the new year, as we wrap up 2023?

This illustration for January in a medieval calendar suggests we should be keeping warm and feasting! This relaxed indoor scene shows a man warming himself by the fire and a woman serving a platter of meat at the table. Calendars in medieval Books of Hours often had illustrations of the "labors of the month," showing seasonal rural activities like shearing sheep in June and mowing hay in July.
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Da Costa hours
Illuminated by Simon Bening (1483/84–1561)
Ghent, Belgium, ca. 1515
Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913), 1910, MS M.399, fol. 2v





You know that feeling when sometimes, you see a pile of gold on the street and you just have to run away? After St. Anth...
12/29/2023

You know that feeling when sometimes, you see a pile of gold on the street and you just have to run away? After St. Anthony Abbot (d. 356) withdrew to the wilderness to avoid worldly temptation, the devil tested him repeatedly. Here the elderly saint resists a large mass of gold that appears on his path. Seeing the golden boulder, he throws up his arm in alarm, raises his cane to gain freer movement, and flees so hastily that his robe flutters behind him.
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Fra Angelico, St. Anthony Shunning the Mass of Gold, tempera on panel, Italy, Florence, ca. 1435–40. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 44.550 / The Edith A. and Percy S. Straus Collection / Bridgeman Images



Families that excavate together, stay together! As president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan funded several of...
12/28/2023

Families that excavate together, stay together! As president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan funded several of the museum’s archaeological expeditions in Egypt. An entourage of family, friends, interpreters, and museum personnel (and puppies as seen here!) traveled with him on riverboats up the Nile to the excavations. A companion claimed that Morgan, looking out on the riverbanks, once said, “There is the place where Moses was hidden in the bulrushes. It doesn’t look it now; critics may say there never were any bulrushes or any Moses, but I know that there was a Moses and that he was hidden in the bulrushes, for there is the spot. It must be so.”


Album of photographs of J. Pierpont Morgan's 1909 trip through Egypt and Greece. The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased in 2003; ARC 1425. Photography by Graham S. Haber.

Printing was no joke in early modern Europe! Every illlustration in a printed book would need a custom woodblock made, l...
12/27/2023

Printing was no joke in early modern Europe! Every illlustration in a printed book would need a custom woodblock made, like this one of the hazelwort (Asarum europaem) plant. Printed illustrations were a collaboration between at least two artists: one to draw the image and the other to carve the woodcut or engraving that would make the image reproducible.
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Giorgio Liberale (b. 1527), illustrator; Wolfgang Meyerpeck (ca. 1505–1578), blockcutter; Hazelwort (Asarum eurpaeum) woodblock, Prague, ca. 1562. The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased on the Harper Fund, 2001; PML 128764. Photography by Janny Chiu

Attention pup lovers! (dog emoji) Did you know that St. Roch is the Italian patron saint of dogs? Pictured here and iden...
12/26/2023

Attention pup lovers! (dog emoji) Did you know that St. Roch is the Italian patron saint of dogs? Pictured here and identifiable by his pilgrim’s staff, St. Roch was a familiar subject for Venetian artists. Giambattista painted numerous small devotional canvases of the saint, and he executed two paintings for the Scuola di San Rocco. This sketch recalls figures in several ceiling projects on which Giambattista worked, but its style suggests that it is probably contemporary with Domenico’s work in Brescia.
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Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
St. Roch Carried to Heaven by Angels, ca. 1755
Oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington, gift of Howard Sturges; 1956.9.16

Happy Holidays from the Morgan! 🎁  🎄 ✨As the year comes to a close, we're grateful for the moments we've shared with our...
12/24/2023

Happy Holidays from the Morgan! 🎁 🎄 ✨

As the year comes to a close, we're grateful for the moments we've shared with our visitors and incredible community. Whether you're traveling or staying at home this holiday season, we hope you have a warm, safe, and joyous time.


Looking for a family friendly activity to do with visiting relatives? Come get a look at the original manuscript of Char...
12/23/2023

Looking for a family friendly activity to do with visiting relatives? Come get a look at the original manuscript of Charles Dickens' iconic novel A Christmas Carol! Now on view in the West Room, the page on view this year evokes the foggy darkness of Scrooge’s London, where “people ran about with flaring links, proffering their services to go before horses in carriages, and conduct them on their way.” Dickens’s carefully revised description juxtaposes imagery of cold discomfort and alluring warmth. A group of “ragged men and boys” huddled around an outdoor fire are “winking their eyes before the blaze in rapture” despite the intense cold. The “misanthropic ice” of an overflowing water plug (a type of fire hydrant) contrasts with “the brightness of the shops, where holly sprigs and berries crackled in the lamp-heat of the windows made pale faces ruddy as they passed.” The page concludes with closing time at the counting house, when Scrooge, ever the churl, asks Bob Cratchit, “You'll want all day tomorrow, I suppose?”

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol will be on view through January 7, 2024.

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Installation View: Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Mr. Morgan's Library, The West Room. The Morgan Library & Museum, Photgraphy by Janny Chiu, 2022.

The mysteries of consistency: By the mid-1750s, Domenico had settled into his recognizable pen-and-wash drawing style, w...
12/22/2023

The mysteries of consistency: By the mid-1750s, Domenico had settled into his recognizable pen-and-wash drawing style, which he would use so consistently for the rest of his career that dating his sketches proves at times to be nearly impossible. Nonetheless, this study—traditionally identified as St. James but perhaps more likely St. Roch—plausibly dates to the moment when Giambattista’s similar inventions were clearly a point of interest to Domenico.


Domenico Tiepolo (1727–1804)
St. James (or St. Roch) Taken to Heaven, ca. 1755(?)
Pen and brown ink with brown and gray wash
The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Lore Heinemann, in memory of her husband, Dr. Rudolf J. Heinemann; 1997.72

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Véra Molnar, a Hungarian-born artist who has been called the godmother...
12/21/2023

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Véra Molnar, a Hungarian-born artist who has been called the godmother of generative art for her pioneering digital work. We honor her work and legacy to the contemporary art landscape.

One of the early pioneers of computer art, Véra Molnar's radical systems-based approach helped establish the parameters for contemporary intersections between art and technology. Her geometric abstractions are created using a rigorous compositional method, governed by a predetermined set of mathematical rules that foreshadowed the development of computers. 'My life is in squares, triangles, lines,' the artist once said, referring to her focus on elementary forms. In the 1960s, she began implementing simple algorithmic programmes by hand, a method referred to as her 'machine imaginaire'. This assisted her in working systematically through all the possible permutations of a series, following a sequence of instructions and self-imposed limitations.

Artists Rights Society (ARS)
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Véra Molnar, (1924-2023)
Interruptions, 1968.
Gift of Agnes Gund. The Morgan Library & Museum, 2017.353.
© 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Check out the details on this stained glass! This glass roundel is from a series illustrating the biblical story of the ...
12/20/2023

Check out the details on this stained glass! This glass roundel is from a series illustrating the biblical story of the Prodigal Son. Luxuriously dressed in a fur-lined mantle adorned with gold brocade, the father has removed coins from a small coffer. Before distributing inheritances to his sons, he weighs each coin on a balance. To the right, opposite his father, the Prodigal Son shovels his gold coins into a bulging moneybag. He will not spend them wisely.
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The Prodigal Receives His Share
Germany, 1532
Colorless glass, vitreous paint, and silver stain
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of George Blumenthal, 1941, 41.190.442.





In this image from Gospels, in Latin, the Evangelist Matthew hovers in the clouds, pen aloft, along with an airborne box...
12/19/2023

In this image from Gospels, in Latin, the Evangelist Matthew hovers in the clouds, pen aloft, along with an airborne box of scrolls. The background evokes the sumptuous purple manuscripts of an earlier era. Some motifs in Gospels were derived from another manuscript dating back to the emperor Charles the Bald (823–877), but the illuminator also experimented with innovative techniques by using blank parchment as part of the composition.


Gospels, in Latin
Northern France, late tenth century
The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.319, fol. 51v. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2018.

Tall tales! This lavish volume, a record of Prince-Bishop Johann’s garden, was at the time the tallest European printed ...
12/18/2023

Tall tales! This lavish volume, a record of Prince-Bishop Johann’s garden, was at the time the tallest European printed book ever published. With its large format, many of the 367 plates depicted plants at full scale. The book contains a wide variety of plants from Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas, including the newly fashionable tulip bulbs imported from the Ottoman Empire.

Johann Leypold, (act. 1607–19), engraver
Hortus Eystettensis (Garden of Eichstätt)
Altdorf: Konrad Bauer, 1613
Peter Goop Collection. Photograph by Naomi Wenger.

An art historical mystery!  🕵️ Giambattista’s inventiveness has led to confusion regarding the subject of this drawing. ...
12/16/2023

An art historical mystery! 🕵️ Giambattista’s inventiveness has led to confusion regarding the subject of this drawing. It has most often been described as a scene of the angel appearing to one of the three Marys at the tomb of Christ. Yet the angel carries a lily, a traditional element of Annunciation scenes, and Mary’s gesture, holding her mantle to shield herself, is found in other versions of the Annunciation by the artist (including one from the 1730s seen earlier in the exhibition). The drawing is perhaps another experiment with variations on a common theme, for it does not connect to a painting. It is, nonetheless, one of Giambattista’s most elegant and dynamic drawings from his final years in Italy.
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Giambattista Tiepolo (1696–1770)
The Annunciation, ca. 1755–60
Pen and black ink and wash, over black chalk
The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1909; IV, 134

Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol is now on view in the West Room, but did you know you can also view a variety of pag...
12/15/2023

Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol is now on view in the West Room, but did you know you can also view a variety of pages from the original text online?

Plus, you can share in the festivities with your own copy of A Christmas Carol available for purchase in the Morgan Shop. "A Christmas Carol: The Original Manuscript Edition" is the first-ever trade edition of Charles Dickens's "own and only" manuscript of his classic and beloved story. It contains a facsimile of the original manuscript of A Christmas Carol, published in full-color, with a foreword by Colm Tóibín and introduction by Declan Kiely.

Check out both the original manuscript pages and purchase the facsimile at the link in our bio!

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Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. A Christmas carol in prose : being a ghost story of Christmas / London : Chapman & Hall, 1843. PML 132030, Mr. Fezziwig's Ball, colored frontispiece facing title page

Even though it’s red, in medieval times carnations like this were called “pinks”! This painting shows a young man with a...
12/14/2023

Even though it’s red, in medieval times carnations like this were called “pinks”! This painting shows a young man with a serious, level gaze. He clutches a carnation, a symbol of betrothal, which suggests it is a wedding portrait. He was likely a member of the Italian merchant colony in Bruges, a city that has been called “the cradle of capitalism.” The needs of the growing merchant class transformed urban spaces. Financial centers were established such as the Beurse in Bruges, where foreign bankers and merchants lived and worked alongside their local counterparts. New commercial networks and trade confederations also developed that operated across vast areas. Medieval trade was international in scope.
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Hans Memling, Portrait of a Man with a Pink. Oil on panel. Netherlandish, ca. 1475. The Morgan Library & Museum, AZ073. Photography by Graham S. Haber.

On the first day of Christmas, The Morgan gave to me… A medieval carol hymn manuscript 🎵 This hymnal page features The g...
12/13/2023

On the first day of Christmas, The Morgan gave to me… A medieval carol hymn manuscript 🎵 This hymnal page features The gradual introit (opening hymn) for Christmas Day which begins Puer natus est, “for unto us a child is born.” Illuminators made the most of this graphic opportunity by painting nativity scenes inside the initial P, a space large enough to include iconographic details such as the manger, ox and ass, angels, and the shepherd. Gradual manuscripts could be enormous multivolume compilations two or three feet high, with text and music for the Mass easily legible by the choir standing before a church’s lectern.


The Nativity and Annunciation in an initial P
Gradual cuttings, leaf 1
Italy, Florence, 1392–99
Illuminated by Silvestro dei Gherarducci (1339–1399). The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.653.1. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2017.

Natural history writing before Darwin: The Buch der Natur is generally regarded as the first German natural history ency...
12/12/2023

Natural history writing before Darwin: The Buch der Natur is generally regarded as the first German natural history encyclopedia. The text is divided into twelve parts, including chapters focused on anatomy, astronomy, animals, and other natural elements, with two sections devoted to trees and medicinal herbs. Each chapter is preceded by a full-page woodcut related to its topic. Critically, it was important to the author that his descriptions of the natural world be accessible to lay readership rather than just the Latin-educated elite.

Konrad von Megenberg (13091374)
Buch der Natur (Book of nature)
Augsburg: Johann Bämler, August 19, 1478
Peter Goop Collection. Photography by Naomi Wenger.

The Opera Illustrated  👨‍🎨When Maurice Sendak made his foray into designing sets and costumes for operas and ballets, he...
12/09/2023

The Opera Illustrated 👨‍🎨
When Maurice Sendak made his foray into designing sets and costumes for operas and ballets, he was already an acclaimed children’s book illustrator and author known for his fantastical worlds. An eternal autodidact who immersed himself in the arts, his passions for both drawing and music allowed him to make the imaginative connections required for his theater designs.

In “Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet,” our 2019 publication and exhibition dedicated to bringing to light this aspect of his career, a special focus is placed on Sendak’s admiration for Mozart.

“The Magic Flute” was aptly the first opera Sendak collaborated on, and his designs took inspiration from visual works such as William Blake’s “Milton’s Mysterious Dream” and Philipp Otto Runge’s “Times of Day” (both part of the Morgan’s drawings collections). The resulting storyboards, with their sinuous, sensual forms, muted color palette, and mystical compositions, present a distinctive take on the classic quest of Prince Tamino and his sidekick Papageno.

Designed by Barbara Glauber / Heavy Meta and copublished with , you can find this catalogue in the Morgan Shop or online: https://www.themorgan.org/shop/books-and-media-exhibitions/drawing-curtain-maurice-sendaks-designs-opera-and-ballet.

Photos by Carmen Gonzalez Fraile and Jessica Micolta.

Father knows best… or does he? In the early 1750s, while Domenico worked on the Würzburg frescoes with his father, he un...
12/08/2023

Father knows best… or does he? In the early 1750s, while Domenico worked on the Würzburg frescoes with his father, he undertook a series of etchings about the Flight into Egypt. These were not a chronological narrative but variations on a single theme, possibly undertaken to demonstrate his originality at a time when he was most known for executing his father’s inventions. While thus resolutely creative, both Giambattista and Domenico were economical, often reusing figures conceived for other projects. Here, Domenico borrowed the group of the Virgin and Child, Joseph, and the donkey from plate ten of his earlier etchings.
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Domenico Tiepolo (1727–1804)
Holy Family on the Flight into Egypt Accompanied by Angels, ca. 1785–91
Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk
The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan, 1909; IV, 148

More money, more problems? The Parable of the Prodigal Son, about a young man who squanders his inheritance on frivoliti...
12/07/2023

More money, more problems? The Parable of the Prodigal Son, about a young man who squanders his inheritance on frivolities, was a popular subject in late medieval art. Dürer’s engraving focuses on the moment when he renounces his dissolute life, which has impoverished him and alienated him from his family and God. Working as a swineherd, he beseeches God for forgiveness and vows to seek the pardon of his father. The biblical narrative does not mention a club (seen here propped against the man’s right leg), but Dürer may have added one to allude to the club of the classical hero Hercules, who chose the hard road of virtue over the easy path of vice. For the Prodigal Son, virtue includes making wise economic decisions.
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Albrecht Dürer, The Prodigal Son amid Swine, engraving, Germany, Nuremberg, ca. 1496. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 19.73.35. The Metropolitan Museum of New York, Fletcher Fund, 1919.




Lucky find! In 1910, this and other sixty ninth- and tenth-century Coptic manuscripts, still in their original bindings,...
12/06/2023

Lucky find! In 1910, this and other sixty ninth- and tenth-century Coptic manuscripts, still in their original bindings, were discovered in a stone cistern at Hamuli, a village near Al-Fayyūm, Egypt. Morgan bought almost all of them a year later, the largest group of Coptic codices with a single provenance. In addition to biblical texts, the manuscripts contain devotional readings, accounts of saints’ lives, and service books documenting the liturgical practices of the monastery. Like this one, many are illuminated with crosses, head-pieces, and ornamental initials.

Samuel 1 and 2, in Coptic
Egypt, Al-Fayyūm region,
Ptepouhar, before August 29, 893
The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.567, fols. 1v-2r. Photography by Janny Chiu

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About the Morgan

The Morgan Library & Museum began as the personal library of financier, collector, and cultural benefactor Pierpont Morgan. Today it is a museum, independent research library, music venue, architectural landmark, and historic site located in the heart of New York City.

A century after its founding, the Morgan remains committed to offering visitors close encounters with great works of human accomplishment in a setting treasured for its intimate scale. Its collection of manuscripts, rare books, music, drawings, and works of art comprise a unique and dynamic record of civilization, as well as an incomparable repository of ideas and of the creative process from 4000 BC to the present.


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