Qatar Has Given the Metropolitan Museum of Art a ‘Generous’ Gift to Supercharge Its Islamic Art Department

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has received a “generous gift” from Qatar Museums, a cultural arm of the Qatari government that oversees many of the country’s institutions.

The donation announced today coincides with the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Met Galleries for the Arts of the Arab Countries, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and later South Asia. A Met spokesman declined to elaborate on what the gift entails. However, a press release clarifies that the money is involved, noting that it will be used “to support, among other things, the Department of Islamic Art and capital projects within the museum.”

In recognition of the donation, the Met will rename its gallery, which showcases art from the Umayyad and Abbasid periods (7th-13th centuries), to the Qatar Gallery.

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“This gift is the latest example of the long-standing relationship between our institutions and marks the beginning of a broad collaboration that includes exhibition sharing, programming and scholarly collaboration,” said Max Hollein, director of the Met, in a statement.

“This critical support,” he continued, “is especially meaningful as we mark the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Met’s refurbished galleries, which continue to be a source of great interest and inspiration to our millions of visitors each year.”

As Hollein mentioned, the partnership between the Met and Qatar Museums goes back several years.

Qatar Museums has loaned pieces from its collections to several Met exhibitions, including Jerusalem in the Middle Ages (2016), Sultans of Deccan India, 1500–1700: Opulence and Fantasy (2015), The Great Age of the Seljuks” (2016) and “Monumental Journey: The Daguerreotypes of Girault de Prangey” (2019).

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Next month, the Met will retaliate by borrowing works from its own collection for a special exhibition at the newly renovated Museum of Islamic Art in Doha. The exhibition entitled “Baghdad: eye delight‘ focuses on the historical role of the titular city as a cultural center in the Arab world, with a particular focus on art from the Abbasid period. It is scheduled to open on October 26th.

A Met representative also mentioned that the museum will soon announce an exhibition of museum works that will travel to Qatar.

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“The establishment of the Qatar Gallery at the Met underscores the collegiality between our institutions and our desire to advance an important common goal, which is to increase appreciation of the arts of the Islamic world everywhere,” said Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairman the Qatar Museum. “We are proud to join with the Met to honor the beauty, depth and diversity of a global tradition that spans fourteen centuries.”

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