Title: Remastering the Old Masters
Author: Hilarie M. Sheets
Scholarships, collecting and our views of the past are constantly being revised and our notions are constantly being questioned. Museums have undergone a transition from the traditional style to the emerging style to keep the public intrigued. This transition includes new aspects such as public outreach and an urge for active participation, however also requires a well thought out layout for the exhibitions. The task of having different styles from different time periods being grouped together to spark the ultimate amount of curiosity in the public has become crucial. Curator Keith Christiansen succeeded in giving the Met’s European paintings galleries a fresh new look and the new organization of the Old Masters has been praised for its coherence and revelations.
Many Old Masters in Europe are exhibited in museums carrying their own names such as the Rembrandt Museum in Amsterdam, Rubens Museum in Antwerp, Goya Museum in Madrid, or are under one roof like at the "Alte Pinakothek" in Munich or the "Art Galerie Old Masters" in Dresden. The work of Old Masters in the United States is usually spread over many different museums and usually have to be borrowed from a number of private art collections and museums for exhibition, such as the Rembrandt Exhibition in 2011/2012, that was hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Curator Keith Christiansen managed to expand the permanent Collection of Old Masters at the Met from 450 to nearly 700 artworks, which can be viewed in 17 galleries continuously throughout the year. The arrangement of the exhibit gives the public a better understanding of the artist’s life and work as a whole. It has become a space, where one can go to receive a deeper understanding of the particular artists and of the art period and because it is a permanent exhibition one can always go back.
So by which means of displaying these Old Masters does one truly engage the public?