Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today will open at Crystal Bridges this Saturday, October 12 (member preview starting tomorrow, October 11)! This exhibition will feature crystals in art from all over the world, spanning history and geography.
The map above indicates the countries where a few of the artworks from the exhibition were created. Keep scrolling to learn more about these artworks and what was going on during the time in which each object was made:
Figure of a Buddha
Artist/Maker unknown, Chinese, Figure of a Buddha, 19th-early 20th century, Rock crystal, Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Major General and Mrs. William Crozier, 1944
What was going on in China at the time this object was made?
19th-early 20th century
- China lost the Sino-Japanese War in 1895, showing weakness in the reigning Qing Dynasty to the Chinese people.
- The Boxer Rebellion, an anti-foreign uprising in 1900, further inflamed resistance to the Qing Dynasty.
- The Communist Party of China was founded in 1921.
Taweret Figurine, First Persian Period – Later Period: Egyptian, From Egypt, 525-332 B.C., Rock crystal, Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1944 (44.4.67)
What was going on in Egypt at the time this object was made?
- The Persians conquered Egypt in 525 BC, leading to a resurgence in Egyptian nationality in order to regain autonomy.
- Artwork in the Late Period focused heavily on animals.
- The Brooklyn Papyrus, said to have been created around 450 BC, is one of the oldest writings about medicine ever preserved and offers several treatments for snakebites.
Jean-Valentin Morel, French, 1794-1860 Standing Cup, 1850-1851 French Rock crystal, silver gilt, enamel, pearls Height: 9 ¼ in Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Friends of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Gifts, 1997 (1997.14)
What was going on in France at the time this object was made?
- Chopin recently died in Paris (1849).
- Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte became Napoleon III of France, creating the Second French Empire with him as emperor.
- The Crimean War would begin in 1853.
Albrecht Dürer, German, Nuremberg, 1471-1528 Melencolia I, 1514, Engraving, Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Anonymous Gift, 2003 (2003.446.1).
What was going on in Germany at the time this object was made?
- The German Renaissance, which began roughly in 1450 and lasted throughout the sixteenth century.
- Martin Luther was a few years away from posting his “Ninety-Five Theses” on the door of All Saint’s Church in Wittenberg, Germany (1517).
Rock-crystal ovoid vessel
Rock-crystal ovoid vessel with wide mouth, Late Classical or Early Hellenistic: Greek, Eastern Mediterranean, 4th-3rd century B.C., Rock crystal, Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan P. Rosen, 1992 (1992.266.19)
What was going on in Greece at the time this object was made?
4th-3rd century BC
- Socrates was condemned to death for corrupting the youth in 399 BC.
- Aristotle begins teaching Alexander the Great in 342 BC.
- Alexander the Great became king in 332 BC and began his empiric conquest.
Maker Unkown, Mughal period (1526-1858): Islamic Attributed to India mid-17th century
Rock crystal; set with gold, enamel, rubies and emeralds
Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, 1993 (1993.18)
What was going on in India at the time this object was made?
- India had been under British rule for ~40 years in the mid-seventeenth century.
- Shah Jahan completed construction of the Taj Mahal in 1658.
Roman Statuette of Venus
Unknown maker, Roman Statuette of Venus, 100-1 B.C., Rock crystal, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California, 78.AN.248.
What was going on in Rome at the time this object was made?
- Wars – lots of them.
- The assassination of Julius Caesar took place in 44 BC.
- Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 BC.
Pendant of a Rosary
Pendant of a Rosary, Mexican, 16th century, Silver gilt, rock crystal, Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of J. Pierpoint Morgan, 1917 (17.190.323).
What was going on in Mexico at the time this object was made?
- Tenochitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire, fell to Spain in 1521, and Hernan Cortes founded Mexico City on its ruins.
- Subsequently, the Colonial period of Mexico began under Spanish rule.
- Around this time, Spanish explorers also searched for the fabled city of El Dorado.
House of Faberge Cigarette Case
House of Fabergé, Mikhail Evlampievich Perkhin (Russian, 1860-1903), Cigarette Case, c. 1895-1910, Rock crystal, enamel, gold, sapphire, diamond, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Bequest of Muriel Butkin 2009.365
What was going on in Russia at the time this object was made?
- Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia, had just taken to power after his father’s death in 1894.
- Infamous royal advisor Rasputin began working for Nicholas II in the early 1900s.
- The Russo-Japanese War began in 1904.
Seated Buddha, Perhaps 1400-1500, Thailand, Rock crystal with gold and rubies, Lent by the Asian Art Museum; Gift from Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Southeast Asian Collection
What was going on in Thailand at the time this object was made?
- In the western part of Thailand, which was then known as the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, Buddhism became the official religion during this time period.
- Trade with the Dutch and Portuguese in the sixteenth century advanced the economic growth of the kingdoms. It was also known as a golden age of literature and art.
See all of these artworks and more at Crystals in Art: Ancient to Today, opening this Saturday, October 12!
Members see it free and first! Member Preview begins on Friday, October 11 at 11 a.m.