The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Northern Renaissance Gallery
The sacred and secular revisited
Image © Anna-Marie Kellen, Courtesy of The Met
New York, USA
After seven years of closure, The Metropolitan Museum of Art's newly redesigned Northern Renaissance Sculpture and Decorative Arts Gallery reopened to the public in October 2023. There, visitors can now experience more than 100 iconic objects from The Met collection, including some exciting recent acquisitions on display for the first time.
Pieces on display are thematically grouped and include a broad range of metalwork, ceramics, stained glass, and textiles; plus beautifully crafted objects such as clocks and chessboards. There are also some very rare pieces, such as the elaborate Orpheus Cup and a silver ewer made and signed by celebrated Dutch goldsmith Adam van Vianen in 1619.
Collectively, the displays provide a stunning overview of the exquisite artistry and meticulous craftsmanship that characterized northern Europe’s culture during the 16th and 17th centuries. This was a period of history marked by tumultuous changes in society and geopolitics – changes that heralded the emergence of a nascent modern society.
Goppion has been proud to work with The Met on previous occasions, including the renewal of the British Galleries for the Museum’s 150th anniversary. For this project, the Northern Renaissance reinstallation required us to provide exhibit fabrication, 11 airtight, custom conservation-grade showcases, a further 10 showcases with hinged doors, and nine custom-made LED lightbox displays. We also delivered a variety of other exhibition components such as plinths, platforms, glass and acrylic cases, rails, reader rails and AV integrated furniture.
We worked closely with The Met's world-class design team through the design-assist process, providing solutions to complex challenges. A significant challenge was the height of the freestanding showcases, which reached their destination on-gallery thanks to logistical planning, a ramp and a very careful forklift driver!
Among the innovations introduced for this project is an enhanced solution for silica gel system efficiency, which addresses the release of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) by the art itself, ensuring both airtightness and filtration when necessary.
With this reinstallation, the Northern Renaissance gallery’s rich collection of objects and stories offer a fresh, compelling window into the past for a new generation of Met visitors.
Photos: Installation view of the Northern Renaissance Sculpture and Decorative Arts gallery (Gallery 520) at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 2023. Photography by Anna-Marie Kellen, Courtesy of The Met.