Friday Photo: At the Met, Mum’s the Word

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By Stephanie Murg Comment

Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art issued a call for photos that highlighted a detail of a single work of art from its permanent collection, setting off an epidemic of close-looking (who knew Edouard Vuillard‘s canvases were so mesmerizing in extreme zoom?). Having yielded hundreds of submissions—and a gorgeous Tumblr—the “Get Closer” contest has concluded with the announcement this week of five winning entries, including this intriguing close-up taken by Ruth Rogers. We like the elementary school science bookishness of it, teasing the viewer as to its appropriately scaled identity. Is it a colonial textile? The braid of one of Ghirlandaio‘s girls? An intricate rendering of wheat? Nope, it’s the tightly wrapped torso of the Mask of Osiris mummy (305–30 B.C.), acquired by the Met in 1944 from one Mrs. Goddard DuBois. “I can sense the artisan’s hand in this work,” wrote Rogers in her entry. “Look how perfect this wrapping is, thousands of years later. The time, the effort, still projects through time and space.”

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