News | May 21, 2013

New Appointments in The Met’s Department of Medieval Art

(New York, May 20, 2013)—Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, today announced two appointments in its Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. Peter Barnet, who is currently the Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the department, will move into the newly created position of Senior Curator, and C. Griffith Mann, currently Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Cleveland Museum of Art, will become the Metropolitan Museum’s Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge of the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. These changes will go into effect on September 1.

Thomas Campbell said, in making the announcement: “Over the past 15 years, Peter Barnet has been a strong leader of his superb staff. Together they have presented an important roster of scholarly exhibitions, made significant acquisitions, and carried out essential upgrades and reinstallations in the medieval art galleries, both in the Met’s main building and at The Cloisters. Having now led The Cloisters into its landmark 75th-anniversary year, Peter has decided to focus on his scholarship, taking on new projects in research, curating, and writing.”

Mr. Campbell further stated: “Griff Mann—an outstanding scholar and administrator—will join the Met this fall to assume the leadership of the department. With his breadth of experience and interests, he is uniquely qualified to bring new perspectives to the department and help audiences discover the great treasures of our medieval collection.”  

"Working at the Cleveland Museum of Art during a transformative moment in its history has been a privilege,” said C. Griffith Mann, “and I am especially proud that its great collection, presented by a talented staff in new spaces, has galvanized community support for the museum. Looking ahead, I am eager to take up the challenge of connecting audiences to the exceptional holdings and unique settings of the Met and The Cloisters, and I look forward to working with respected colleagues to develop a vision for the future of one of the world's greatest encyclopedic collections."

Peter Barnet
Peter Barnet has led the Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters since 1998. During this time, he has organized numerous exhibitions and overseen the reinstallation and reinterpretation of a large portion of the medieval galleries in the Metropolitan Museum’s main building as well as the major galleries at The Cloisters museum and gardens, the Museum’s branch for medieval art and architecture in northern Manhattan. At The Cloisters, these projects included the renovation of the galleries housing the world-renowned Unicorn Tapestries and Nine Heroes Tapestries. 

Exhibitions curated or co-curated by Peter Barnet include Images in Ivory: Precious Objects of the Gothic Age (1997); Mirror of the Medieval World (1999); Lions, Dragons, and Other Beasts: Medieval Aquamanilia, Vessels for Church and Table (2006); The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy (2010); Earth, Sea, and Sky: Nature in Western Art—Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tokyo and Beijing, 2012-13); and Medieval Treasures from Hildesheim (2013-14). He contributed substantially to the catalogues of these exhibitions and is the author of numerous articles and book reviews on medieval art.

Peter Barnet has also been instrumental in bringing many major acquisitions into the Museum’s collection, the most recent examples of which are The Falcon’s Bath, the most important medieval tapestry to enter the Museum’s collection in decades, and Christ Child with an Apple, a sculpture in wood with original polychrome from the Workshop of Michel Erhart in Ulm, Germany, ca. 1470-80, both now on view at The Cloisters.

Peter Barnet has been an active member of organizations including the International Center of Medieval Art, where he served as both advisor and director, and Association of Art Museum Curators, where he was a founding board member. He has also been a member of the Art Advisory Council of the International Foundation for Art Research and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the College Art Association.

C. Griffith Mann
As the current Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Cleveland Museum of Art, C. Griffith Mann has been responsible for overseeing the museum’s collections and program areas, including collections management, conservation, curatorial, education and interpretation, exhibitions, library and archives, performing arts and film, publications, and information management and technology services. He has helped to lead the museum through its current renovation and expansion project, worked closely with curators on acquisitions, and has been highly involved in the reinstallation of the museum’s permanent collection and associated interpretation. He has also helped to oversee the museum’s exhibitions and publication programs. He received his B.A. in art history and history from Williams College, and his Ph.D. in medieval art from The Johns Hopkins University. A specialist in the arts of late medieval and early Renaissance Italy, he has published on civic patronage, painting, and devotion in Tuscany.

Prior to arriving in Cleveland in 2008, C. Griffith Mann was director of the curatorial division of the Walters Art Museum, where he was also a contributing curator for the exhibition The Book of Kings: Art, War, and Politics in the Morgan Library’s Medieval Picture Bible; principal curator for the exhibition Sacred Arts and City Life: The Glory of Medieval Novgorod; and author of the catalogue of the Walters’ collection of Ethiopian art. At the Cleveland Museum, he was co-curator of the traveling exhibition Treasures of Heaven: Saints, Relics, and Devotion in Medieval Europe, which was selected by Apollo magazine as one of the best exhibitions of 2011. C. Griffith Mann has also contributed to publications highlighting the museum’s permanent collections, and led the team that developed Gallery One, which blends art and technology to connect visitors with the museum’s encyclopedic collections.

He served as a 2011 Fellow at the Center for Curatorial Leadership and participated in the Getty’s Museum Leadership Institute in 2006.