Morgan Zoom Backgrounds

Now that we're all doing, well . . . everything from home we are faced with a few tricky issues. Getting along with our roommates and families, having personal space, and maybe worst of all, having to expose your boring (messy?) abode to your coworkers on Zoom!

We at The Morgan are here to help you. Below, find an array of options of images from our collection that you can use as a Zoom background. Use them and you can show off your creative, glamorous personality. Even from your couch.

J Pierpont Morgan’s Library: The West Room.

Yes, you too can project gilded age opulence from your flex room turned office! J.P Morgan’s private study, located in the West Room of his library is a testament to the grandeur of his persona, while still feeling warm and cozy. Nowhere is Pierpont Morgan's affinity for the Renaissance aesthetic more evident than in his study, where he surrounded himself with paintings by Italian and Netherlandish masters and small objects of great beauty. On view in the West Room are many of the works that were installed during Morgan's lifetime alongside objects acquired since then. They include such highlights as Man with a Pink and two altarpiece panels by the great fifteenth-century Flemish painter Hans Memling (1430/40–1494) as well as a marble bust of the Christ child by Antonio Rossellino (1427–1478). Read more about the West Room.

J Pierpont Morgan’s Library: The East Room.

Maybe you are wearing sweatpants on your Zoom call, but you are doing it just a few feet away from a Gutenberg Bible. The East Room is one of the grandest spaces in the Morgan, and maybe even in all of New York. With its three-story inlaid walnut bookshelves and magnificent ceiling, the East Room was designed as a treasury for Pierpont Morgan's remarkable collection of rare printed books. The sixteenth-century Netherlandish tapestry over the mantelpiece depicts avarice, one of the seven deadly sins, personified by the mythological King Midas. Two staircases, concealed behind bookcases, provide access to the balconies. Paintings by H. Siddons Mowbray adorn the upper reaches of the room, and the signs of the zodiac are depicted in the ceiling's hexagonal spandrels. Allegorical depictions of the arts and sciences alternate with portraits of figures from Socrates to Michelangelo, identifying the library as a place for the preservation of art and ideas. Learn more about the East Room.

Jean-Jacques Lequeu (1757–1826)
Designs for a Temple of the Earth, from Civil Architecture, 1794.

This mysterious and outlandish design for a spherical temple done in pen and black ink, brown and gray wash, and watercolor is on loan from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, as part of our exhibition on Jean Jacques Leque, which you can visit online.

Alfred Jarry (at right) fencing with Félix Blaviel in Laval, 1906.

You may want to voice your frustration with those you are on Zoom with, and there is no better way to do so than to challenge them to a duel (sort of) This enchanting photograph with a beautiful border may get that message across, while your boss’s cat disconnects their microphone for the third time in a row. Photograph courtesy of The Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman Pataphysics Collection. Visit the exhibition Alfred Jarry: The Carnival of Being online.

François-Antoine Léon Fleury (1804-1858)
Convent at Subiaco, 1827-28.

Is shelter in place making you feel like a hermit? Are you trying to tap into your spiritual side? Either way, consider shifting your locale (imaginatively and spiritually) to the Convent at Subiaco. You may be feeling alone right now, but the nuns will always have your back! Learn more about this image here. See more objects  from our collections here.

Carl Morgenstern (1811-1893)
Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger, 19th century.

Do you wish you could commune with nature more? Consider transporting yourself to the Alps. Let the cold mountain wind wake you up and give you the energy to face another day of home-scool/work/family therapy. Also, if you want to keep the energizing mountain aesthetic alive, consider listening to this between Zoom calls .

Yona Benjamin
Columbia University Class of 2020
Communications and Marketing Department