The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, has announced that Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination has become the museum’s most visited exhibition, attracting over 1.5 million visitors.
1,659,647 people visited The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters during the exhibition’s run from May 10 to October 8. It overtook Treasures of Tutankhamun (1978) to become the most visited exhibition, which had 1,360,957 visitors.
In July, The Met announced record attendance of more than 7.35 million visitors across its three locations—The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Cloisters, and The Met Breuer.
The new record in the year ended June 30 2018, is attributed to the record-breaking attendance for Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer exhibition which on its own attracted 702,516 visitors.
The Met also benefited from over $250 million in philanthropic gifts, membership contributions and government support, the highest amount in recent years. A substantial element of this income came from a $80 million gift from Trustee Florence Irving and her late husband, Herbert Irving, which is the largest financial gift the Museum has received in recent history.
The Costume Institute at The Met
Costume Institute exhibitions are among The Met’s most attended shows. In 2011, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty welcomed 661,509 visitors. More recently, in 2016, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology saw 752,995 visitors.
Heavenly Bodies is the largest exhibition that both The Costume Institute and The Met has ever organised. It covered 60,000 square feet over 25 galleries.
Describing the exhibition, a statement said: “The thematic exhibition presented a dialogue between fashion and masterworks of medieval art in The Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the traditions of Catholicism.
“A group of papal robes and accessories from the Vatican served as the cornerstone of the exhibition, highlighting the enduring influence of liturgical vestments on designers. The 42 ecclesiastical masterworks came from the Sistine Chapel sacristy, and many of them had never been seen outside the Vatican.”
The Met is New York City’s most visited tourist attraction for both domestic and international visitors (34 percent), with Trip Advisor naming the museum as Travelers’ Choice for Best Museum in the World for the third consecutive year.
Images and video courtesy The Met