A showstopper of an exhibition, The Met’s new Jewelry: The Body Transformed pulls together hundreds of glittering works from across the Museum’s curatorial departments. Organized around ideas rather than chronologies or cultures, the show is replete with fascinating juxtapositions.
Upon entering the exhibition gallery, visitors lay eyes upon Plexiglass columns, in which spotlit brooches, necklaces, anklets, earrings, pieces of armor, and even a crown seem to float. Suspended at the approximate height at which they would be worn on the human body, these pieces provide a vivid illustration of the power of adornment. They show the extraordinary variety of the way cultures have approached jewelry throughout time, all over the world—as well as the universal human impulse to enhance the figure through beautiful embellishments.
As the exhibition unfolds, jewelry of all shapes, sizes, and materials is presented thematically. Sections such as “The Divine Body,” “The Regal Body,” “The Alluring Body,” and others highlight superb examples of the human urge to adorn, while finding common threads that connect cultures, from the Greece of Alexander the Great, to 19th-century Tamil Nadu, in India, to the contemporary fashion world, where fine jewelry has become a multi-billion-dollar industry.
Anyone who visits this remarkable show will likely want a few new adornments for her (or his) own. Luckily, The Met Store offers a range of beautiful pieces that cater to jewelry lovers of every taste and budget.