2013-43-1
A Piece of Pax Romana
Don’t get these twisted: the Via Portico d’Ottavia is an area of ancient ruins in Rome, located in the center of the neighborhood designated as the Jewish ghetto in the sixteenth century. The Roman emperor Augustus, known for ushering in the Pax Romana period of relative peace and stability for the empire, originally built this colonnaded...
Rum Punch, 1836; Robert Cruikshank (English, 1789-1856). Bequest of Erskine Hewitt; 1938-57-159.
Bottomless Punch
This raucous drawing was made by English printmaker (Isaac) Robert Cruikshank in 1836.  Cruikshank’s dense scene includes genteel figures seated around an enormous, decorated cake while others, emboldened by inebriation, climb a rafter at the left.  Two oversized and garish figures both literally and figuratively steal the cake; however: the male figure holds a full...
Shawl-OotD
Kashmir to Paisley
In English, the common droplet-shaped motif found on Kashmir shawls is named after the Scottish town Paisley, which became famous for its imitation shawls in the first half of the 19th century. Locally, it is called boteh  (Persian: بوته ; meaning “shrub”) or buta in the Indian subcontinent. Elsewhere on Object of the Day, Deputy Curatorial Director and Head of Textiles...
2015-5-13_17
The Cutting Edge
This flatware designed by Zaha Hadid gives new life to the term “mindful eating.” While the pieces of this place setting are immediately recognizable as forks, spoons, and a knife, each stainless-steel utensil looks as if it is reflected in a fun house mirror. The pieces are very individualized, but as a five-piece group they...
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Down on the Farm
This charming landscape paper features various scenes of a busy yet peaceful farm. Views include harvesting and gathering wheat, a cow being milked, and a farmer plowing a field while another sows seeds. These are interspersed with scenes of ducks paddling in a brook, sheep lounging in a meadow, and horses frolicking in a pasture....
Manhattan Records
Rhythm of the City
Graphic designer Paula Scher adapted Piet Mondrian’s 1943 painting Broadway Boogie-Woogie when she created the graphic identity for Manhattan Records in 1984. On each LP that Manhattan Records released, the design is printed on the center label of sides A and B. When reflecting on her decision to turn to Mondrian, Scher explained “the strongest...
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Not Just Another Landscape Paper
This is another landscape paper that has been given a slightly different treatment. The viewer is looking through a dense grove of trees, into a clearing of some sort, followed by more trees in the distance. The colors in the foreground are darker and more saturated, getting lighter as they recede into the distance, creating...
1990-93-3_rs
Books and Biscuits
This trompe-l’oeil biscuit tin takes the form of a stack of books with handsome marbled pages and tooled leather bindings. The titles include some of the most ubiquitous texts in British history, from the moralistic Pilgrim’s Progress to the adventure stories of Daniel Defoe and Jonathan Swift. The books are a play on the name...
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Speaking in Tongues
Graphic designer Tibor Kalman made a circle of blue the visual centerpiece of Talking Heads’ 1983 release Speaking in Tongues. The circle is seven inches in diameter, just like a 45 record. But while the graphic might evoke the standard format of singles from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s, it was actually inspired by the...