New York Met’s ‘Heavenly Bodies’ exhibition attracts more than one million visitors

The New York Metropolitan Museum has announced that the ‘Heavenly Bodies - Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’ exhibition has become one of the museum’s most popular events ever. Organised by the Costume Institute in collaboration with the museum’s Medieval Art Department, the exhibition, which opened with a red-carpet event on the first Monday of May - featuring Anna Wintour, Rihanna and Donatella Versace - will close on October 8 and looks set to become the Met’s most-visited show ever.


Photo - ANSA

The success of ‘Heavenly Bodies’, showcasing haute couture dresses by Versace, Cristobal Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and many other top designers, is all the more remarkable since, from March, the museum is charging an entrance fee for non-residents of New York’s metro area.

‘Heavenly Bodies’ has so far established a new visitor record for the Costume Institute, and ranks third overall for the Met as a whole, ahead of ‘Treasures of the Vatican’ (1983) and behind the ‘Mona Lisa’ exhibition of 1963. The Met’s most-visited exhibition still remains ‘Treasures of Tutankhamun’ in 1978, with 1,360,957 visitors, but it is likely that a new record will be set by ‘Heavenly Bodies’ next month.

The exhibition’s one millionth visitor was greeted by Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton, the Costume Institute’s Chief Curator, who spent over an hour signing exhibition catalogues for the public.


One of the dresses on show at the New York Met Museum - ANSA

The exhibition is arranged like a pilgrimage through the museum’s Medieval rooms, the Costume Institute and the Lehman Collection, at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters, the latter a genuine monastery recreated at the northern end of Manhattan. The Vatican has contributed too, lending 40 masterpieces from its liturgical and papal robes collection from the Sistine Chapel sacristy - including John Paul II’s famous red slippers - many of which have never been seen outside Rome.

Translated by Nicola Mira

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