EASTON — Guest lecturer Andrea Bayer, deputy director for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, pulled back the curtain of one of the largest and most diverse art museums in the world on Thursday, July 18.
“The Making of the Met: Behind the Scenes through 150 Years of Museum History” painted a story about the past, present and future of the Metropolitan Museum of Art through sculptures, pictures, paintings and even antiques that came all the way from China.
The Met houses about two million objects in its collection representing more than 5,000 years of artistic achievement from around the world. The Met hosts seven million visitors annually and has an operating budget of $320 million.
“I am delighted to be here today. It has been a great day. It has been fantastic time walking and meeting everyone,” Bayer said. “I spent most of my career working as a curator in European paintings on Italian Renaissance. I like to work on big cultural themes.”
She started the program with the painting “Venus and Cupid” by Lorenzo Lotto. It probably dates to the mid-1520s but has been dated as late as the 1540s. It was a wedding gift for a couple of Bergamo or Venice. Such paintings were inspired by the classical tradition of wedding poetry.
Bayer then discussed the Met’s 150th celebration that will take place in 2020. The museum will feature exhibitions and events for audiences in the United States and around the world. There are 17 building parts that make the museum.
Also in the anniversary year, the Met is giving many opportunities to express its thanks to the generations of New Yorkers, visitors and supporters whose generosity and enthusiasm have built the museum.
“We focused on 10 moments when something happened, when visionary figures both internal and external, pushed the collections, conservation plans, educational programs,” Bayer said. “Yes, it is going to be a celebration, but it is also going to be honest looking at hits and also the misses, including the best and beautiful and sometimes the ugly.”
Since joining the Met’s Department of European Paintings in 1990 as a scholar of Italian Renaissance art, Bayer has curated groundbreaking exhibitions, including “Dosso Dossi,” “Court Painter in Renaissance Ferrara” (1999), “Painters of Reality: The Legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombardy” (2004) and “Art and Love in Renaissance Italy” (2008-2009).
In addition to authoring numerous exhibition catalogs, Bayer has written two Museum Bulletins and recently co-authored two articles for the Metropolitan Museum Journal — “Andrea del Sarto’s Borgherini Holy Family and Charity: Two Intertwined Late Works” and “An Examination of Paolo Veronese’s Portrait of Alessandro Vittoria,” both in volume 52 (2017).
Bayer studied at Barnard College and Princeton University, and received her Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1990.
Natalia Andreeva of Tallahassee, Fla., a Plein Air competitive artist, attended the event as the guest. She said she has been at the Metropolitan Museum of Art several times and found it interesting to hear the behind-the-scenes aspects of the collections.
“It was great knowledge to hear about the collections,” Andreeva said. “It is a pleasure to see all the work. I have been at the Metropolitan Museums many times before but didn’t have much curiosity to learn about who stood behind the whole collections and how it all worked out. That is why I was interested in the talk, and (Bayer) pretty much answered all of my questions behind it.”