|Duccio's Madonna and Child, which cost the Met a reported $45 million, is nowhere to be seen|
At the same time, the tiny painting of the Madonna and Child attributed to the late 13th-, early 14th-century Sienese master Duccio -- the Met's most expensive purchase ever, at a reported $45 million -- has disappeared from view.
|Closures hit the Italian Renaissance galleries|
But why was the much-vaunted Duccio put in storage rather than displayed elsewhere in the museum? Perhaps because very few visitors stop in front of this unengaging sad sack of a painting when it is on display.
The Old Masters project follows the likewise unannounced disruption in the Met's Egyptian galleries, where a staggering 18,000 objects have been taken off view to protect them from vibrations caused by reconstruction of the Costume Institute below. (More about Egypt's being a fashion victim can be found in my article here.)
The expansion of the Old Master galleries is expected to be complete sometime next May. As far as the renovation goes, I can report that two existing galleries have been combined into one long space and that the walls where the Duccio and other Italian Renaissance art used to hang are now a rich slate gray.
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Duccio image from the Met's website. Other image and text (c) Copyright 2012 Laura Gilbert.