Heavenly Bodies exhibition is the name of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s spring 2018 Costume Institute exhibit. It is currently on show at both The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters and it is the largest Costume Institute exhibit in the museum’s history, spanning 25 galleries and 60,000 square feet.
Heavenly Bodies exhibition features approximately 40 ecclesiastical masterworks from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, many of which have never been seen outside the Vatican. Featuring more than 15 papacies from the 18th to the early 21st century, these masterworks are on view in the Anna Wintour Costume Center galleries and include papal vestments and accessories, such as rings and tiaras. The last time the Vatican sent a loan of this magnitude to The Met was in 1983, for The Vatican Collections exhibition, which is the Museum’s third most-visited show.
Providing an interpretative context for fashion’s engagement with Catholicism Heavenly Bodies exhibition has more than 150 ensembles, primarily womenswear, on view in the Byzantine and medieval galleries, in part of the Robert Lehman Wing, and at The Met Cloisters alongside medieval art from The Met collection. The presentation situates these designs within the broader context of religious artistic production to analyze their connection to the historiography of material Christianity and their contribution to the construction of the Catholic imagination.
I’ve been to both The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters parts of the exhibit and I really enjoy them. Overall, I think Heavenly Bodies exhibition is a really interesting, and that if you have the chance to go, you won’t regret it.