The Art of Music: The André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments at The Met Fifth Avenue, Reopened March 22, 2018

Photographs by Corrado Serra.

“Music is central to nearly all aspects of human endeavor and culture. Through the theme of the art of music, these galleries explore the artistry of music and instruments across 4,000 years of history and around the globe in the diverse context of the Met’s encyclopedic collections.

This gallery is organized chronologically to illustrate that people worldwide have simultaneously created extraordinary music and instruments for millennia. Such a global perspective enables us to identify underlying commonalities in the creation and function of the instruments encountered here. The use of music and instruments to express status, identity, and spirituality, and the impact of trade, changing tastes, availability of materials, and emerging technologies are shared elements that span the sweep of time and geography.

Although primarily intended to be heard, instruments also function as powerful vehicles of visual expression and are often prized as works of art in their own right. As such, their appearance frequently reflects contemporary style, and the production techniques and materials used to make them are shared with other art forms. Here, related objects and paintings are displayed to illustrate the universal presence of music and instruments in art and society.” — Introductory Wall Text

The André Mertens Galleries for Musical Instruments “The Art of Music” is organized by Jayson Kerr Dobney, Frederick P. Rose Curator in Charge in the Department of Musical Instruments; Ken Moore, Curator Emeritus in the Department of Musical Instruments; and Bradley Strauchen-Scherer, Associate Curator in the Department of Musical Instruments