RELIGION

12 Works Of Art That Prove What A Loss The Closure Of The Museum Of Biblical Art Is

05/05/2015 12:33 pm ET | Updated May 05, 2015

New York City's Museum of Biblical Art is closing its doors next month, just shy of its 20th anniversary.

The museum announced the closure in a press release on its website, stating that it was unable to raise funds for a new site when the American Bible Society, which has housed it since 1997, announced it was moving to Philadelphia. The museum is run independently of the Bible Society, though the organization has provided essential funding and housing over the years.

“I am deeply proud of what we have accomplished at MOBIA, and deeply sorry that we will not be able to present the many exciting exhibitions and projects we had planned for the coming years,” MOBIA Director Richard P. Townsend said in the release.

The museum has served as a non-collecting gallery space over the last decade and half, hosting biblically-inspired exhibitions from other institutions for months at a time. With the museum's closure, New York loses a "valuable resource," as Dale T. Irvin, president of the New York Theological Seminary, told Religion News Service.

And in 2012, RNS's David Van Biema wrote:

MOBIA is unlike most big-city museums in its exclusive focus on Christian and Jewish religious art -- but also its attention to that art's religiousness. The museum had no religious agenda per se -- which is ironic since it started as part of the venerable American Bible Society.

Here are 12 works of art and gallery views that demonstrate why MOBIA's announcement is a major disappointment for spiritual seekers, theologians and art aficionados alike:

  • Annunciation, detail
    Photo by Antonio Quattrone
    Attributed to Giovanni d’Ambrogio The Annunciation, late 14th century Marble, 144 × 44 × 30 cm (56¾ × 17¼ × 117⁄8 in.) Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, inv. no. 2005/276 © Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone
  • The Art of Dialectic
    Photo by Antonio Quattrone
    Luca della Robbia The Art of Dialectic (Plato and Aristotle?), 1437–39 Marble, 83.5 × 69 × 13 cm (327⁄8 × 271⁄8 × 5 in.) Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, inv. no. 2005/437 © Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone
  • Processional Cross
    Photo by Antonio Quattrone
    Luca della Robbia and Antonio di Salvi Salvucci Processional Cross: Christ Crucified, the Evangelists, Allegory of the Sun, 15th century (after 1460, before 1475) Gilded copper (repoussé and chased), gilded bronze, and enamel, 76 × 57 cm (total height with staff: 160 cm) (30 × 22½ in.) (total height with staff: 63 in.) Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, inv. no. 2005/347 © Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone
  • Abraham and Isaac (the Sacrifice of Isaac)
    Photo by Antonio Quattrone
    Donatello and Rosso Abraham and Isaac (the Sacrifice of Isaac), 1421 Marble, 188 × 56 × 45 cm (74 × 22 × 173/4 in.) Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, inv. no 2005/366 © Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone
  • St. John the Evangelist
    Photo by Antonio Quattrone
    Donatello St. John the Evangelist, 1408–15 Marble, 212 × 91 × 62 cm (83½ × 35¾ × 24½ in.) Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, inv. no 2005/113 © Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone
  • Bronze Head
    Photo by Antonio Quattrone
    Donatello and workshop Head, ca. 1439 Bronze with traces of gilding, 45 × 35 × 30 cm (17¾ × 13¾ × 11¾ in.) Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, inv. no 2005/379a © Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone
  • Christ (Vir Dolorum or "Man of Sorrows")
    Photo by Antonio Quattrone
    Nanni di Banco or Donatello Vir Dolorum (Man of Sorrows), ca. 1407-9 Marble, 48 × 66 × 12 cm (187/8 × 26 × 4¾ in.) Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore, inv. No 2005/280 © Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore / Antonio Quattrone
  • Back to Eden
    Photo by Gina Fuentes Walker
    Installation view of Back to Eden: Contemporary Artists Wander the Garden at the Museum of Biblical Art, 2014. Courtesy of the Museum of Biblical Art.
  • The Art of Devotion
    Photo by Gina Fuentes Walker
    Installation view of Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion at the Museum of Biblical Art, 2012-13. Courtesy of the Museum of Biblical Art.
  • The Art of Devotion
    Photo by Gina Fuentes Walker
    Installation view of Louis C. Tiffany and the Art of Devotion at the Museum of Biblical Art, 2012-13. Courtesy of the Museum of Biblical Art.
  • Object of Devotion
    Photo by Gina Fuentes Walker
    Installation view of Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum at the Museum of Biblical Art, 2014. Courtesy of the Museum of Biblical Art.
  • Object of Devotion
    Photo by Gina Fuentes Walker
    Installation view of Object of Devotion: Medieval English Alabaster Sculpture from the Victoria and Albert Museum at the Museum of Biblical Art, 2014. Courtesy of the Museum of Biblical Art.

Also on HuffPost:

Beautiful Stained Glass Windows
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS