New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the greatest museums in the world, housing the artefacts whose images are instantly-recognizable ciphers of civilisation. But what about those who made and restored, bought and sold, catalogued, guarded and visited those artefacts?
The first scholarly, single-author survey of a 150-year old institution of global renown, The Met is the story of the people behind and in front of the familiar objects. The story of how a diverse set of communities in "the third great city of the civilized world" collected an astonishing wealth of remarkable objects, and made them their own — in the process creating a world-class institution displaying the very best of human creativity. The Met makes the case for universal museums to be places in which to celebrate shared human creativity, rather than identity politics.
Jonathan Conlin was born in New York and later moved to Britain, where he studied history at Oxford. He went on to do graduate work at the Courtauld Institute and Cambridge, becoming a Fellow of Sidney Sussex College in 2002. During this period he spent long periods in Parisian archives, developing an interest in the history of Anglo-French relations. Since his appointment to the University of Southampton in 2006 he has taught courses on a unusually wide range of topics, from the moral philosophy of Adam Smith through the history of cemeteries to the impact of evolution on Victorian society...
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