Sunday, January 3, 2016

Treasures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

From The New York Times:
 The Crown of the Andes, as the Met’s new acquisition is known, might easily have graced any of those regal heads. Instead, it was created for a statue of the Virgin Mary — with emeralds seized from the Inca ruler Atahualpa, lore has it, and instructions that it go above and beyond earthly splendor. Made in what is now Colombia, in a region rich from gold and emerald mining, the crown sat in the cathedral at Popayán. Its diadem was created around 1660; its arches were added around 1770. One theory is that the crown was an offering of gratitude because Popayán had been spared during a 1590s smallpox epidemic

Officially named the Crown of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, the piece was originally used during Holy Week celebrations. The Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception safeguarded it until 1914, when Pope Pius X granted permission for its sale. American investors bought it, and it entered the United States in 1936. It was taken out of storage only for momentous occasions like the introduction of new Chevrolets in 1937 and the New York World’s Fair in 1939
“It really is extraordinary for its rarity and its richness,” said Ronda Kasl, a curator of colonial Latin American art at the Met. “It’s the kind of object that expresses the spiritual values of the culture.” (Read more.)

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