In 1911, Pierpont Morgan purchased fifty-seven leaves of Persian and Mughal miniatures and calligraphy. Orchestrated largely through the efforts of Belle Da Costa Greene, Morgan’s librarian, the acquisition marked a turning point in the history of the Islamic collections at the Morgan. A core set of these leaves once formed part of a magnificent album compiled for Husain Khan Shamlu (r. 1598–1618), governor of Herat (Afghanistan) and one of the most powerful rulers in Persia in the early seventeenth century.
This is a guest post by Cen Liu, a PhD student in Theatre and Performance at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
This fall, I worked with the Department of Printed Books and Bindings to catalog the additional materials in an extra-illustrated version of James Boaden’s Memoirs of the life of John Philip Kemble, esq. (London, 1825; PML 9522-25). My own research is focused on the intersection of theater history and the history of visuality. I investigate how theater, as a concept and an artifact, exhibits and constructs the shifting paradigms of the relation between optical perception and knowledge.
This is a guest post by Jarrett Moran, a doctoral candidate in History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
Bring up the nineteenth century British critic of art and society John Ruskin and there are a few stock stories that get repeated: an art history student might think of J. M. Whistler suing him for libel after Ruskin described his Nocturne in Black and Gold as “flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face,” while a literature student might think of the “pathetic fallacy,” Ruskin’s term for poetic writing that attributes human emotions to the natural world.
Let’s continue our tour of the music collections at the Morgan that we began in Part I. While the Morgan’s reputation for literary manuscripts, rare books, and master drawings is well established, a recent survey showed that only a quarter of our visitors expect to see a music exhibition when they come to the Morgan. In this two-part series, I aim to raise that number by taking you on a tour of highlights from our wonderful music collections, which span over a millennium of musical creativity.
When I joined the Morgan’s Department of Drawings and Prints as a graduate intern in 1993, one of my tasks was to aid Ruth Kraemer (1908–2005), the department’s indefatigable researcher who assisted curator Cara Dufour Denison with cataloging the French drawings.
For peoples of ancient Western Asia, things did not exist until they were named. Names were believed to derive from the intrinsic qualities of things, resonating in perfect harmony with their past, present, and future. At the same time, naming reflected humans' inclination to give an order to the plethora of things, both animate and inanimate, that surrounded them. Being able to name things, then, also denoted control, authority, sovereignty.
This is a guest post by Michael Healy, a doctoral candidate in comparative literature at the Graduate Center, CUNY.
As a student of the various strands of modernism in the early twentieth century, I found that an early version of one such strand was most prominent among the many nineteenth-century manuscripts I read through and cataloged in the summer of 2018 in the Reading Room at the Morgan: the sense that art and literature grow out of the vivid witness and keen observation of events happening around us all the time, some recorded in official histories and others not.
Since 2006, the Morgan and Boston Early Music Festival have partnered to present outstanding early music concerts in Gilder Lehrman Hall. These include renowned instrumental and vocal ensembles plus celebrated semi-staged productions of lesser-known Baroque operas. Although Nevermind (Anna Besson, flute, Louis Creac’h, violin, Robin Pharo, viola da gamba, Jean Rondeau, harpsichord) is not able to perform in our auditorium this year, we are delighted to launch a series of streaming concert broadcasts, beginning on Friday, October 16, 8 PM (EST).
After the death of his mother in 1924, J. P. Morgan, Jr., resolved to tear down his parent’s brownstone on the corner of Madison and Thirty-Sixth Street and erect a building adjacent to his father’s library. This new structure, known as the Annex, would allow the institution he founded in his father’s name to serve the public.