A Peek Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere, and the world’s most encyclopedic museum under one roof.  Founded in 1870, its permanent collection, housed in seventeen curatorial departments, embraces more than 2 million works of art spanning 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present, from every part of the globe, in all artistic media, and at the highest levels of creative excellence.

While Mr. Whimsey and I were in New York City last weekend, we spent six wonderful hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time.  The quote above is from the inside flap of the back cover of Art Is…, a book I bought as a souvenir at the gift shop while we were thereThe depth and breadth of creative expression and artistic excellence across time and culture on display at the Metropolitan is overwhelming.  We barely scratched the surface of its treasures, spending most of our time in 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture (for me) and Arms and Armor (for Mr. Whimsey).  I was tickled to discover that non-flash photography was permitted and I happily snapped away, documenting those things we found particularly moving or fascinating.  It was an afternoon of Impressionists, Egyptian gods, Dutch masters, suits of armor, and a new camera – my idea of bliss.

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[ Pietà, second quarter of the 16th century ]

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[ Gallery 827 of 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture ]

In the 19th and early 20th Century European painting and sculpture collection, entire rooms were filled with paintings by Manet, Degas, Monet, Renoir, and van Gogh, the superstars of Impressionism.  I’ve decided to post a few lesser known (but still spectacular) paintings just to mix things up a bit.

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[ The Massacre of the Innocents (exhibited in 1824), Françios-Joseph Navez ]

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[ Breton Brother and Sister (1871), William Bouguereau ]

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[ Arabs Crossing the Desert (early 1870’s), Jean-Léon Gérôme ]

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[ The Organ Rehearsal (1887), Henry Lerolle ]

OK, just two examples from the big guys.  I can’t help myself, the Impressionists are some of my favorite painters and the Met has an outstanding collection.

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[ The Dance Class (1874), Edgar Degas ]

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[ Wheatfield with Cypresses (1889), Vincent van Gogh ]   – I am in love with this sky.

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[ Statue from the Cypriot collection, 6th to 3rd century BC ]

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[ Cylinder seal in the Ancient Near East collection – weather gods flanking griffins attacking lion, 1720 – 1620 B.C. ]

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[ Ancient Near East openwork plaque of Sphinx, 9th – 8th century B.C. ]

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[ Fragment of a sistrum (musical instrument) in the shape of a Hathor head, Egypt 688 – 525 B.C.]

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[ Assyrian relief from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II, 9th century B.C. ]    – I wonder what a god keeps in his purse?

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[ A Maid Asleep (1656 – 1657), Johannes Vermeer ]   – My second favorite Vermeer painting.

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[ Double Barrel Breech Loading Pinfire Shotgun (1866), J. C. A. Brun ]

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[ Our Lady of Lourdes sword hilt (1881-1882), created for the Prince of Viano. ]

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[ Smith and Wesson .32 Single Action revolver (1892 – 1893), designed by Tiffany and Co. ]

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– Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about this rifle; I just thought it was pretty…

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[ Helmet with mask visor (ca. 1515) ]     – The teeth on this helmet crack me up!

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[ Steel blade for a sword (Katana), Kamakura period (13th century) ]

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[ Japanese knife handle, Edo period (late 18th – early 19th century) ]

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[ Japanese warrior mask from the Edo period (18th century) ]

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[ Sarcophagus of Harkhebit, Dynasty 26 (664 – 525 B.C.) ]

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[ Head of King Amenmesse, Dynasty 19 (1203 -1200 B.C.) ]

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[ The Temple of Dendar, the Sackler Wing ]

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It would take weeks to do the Metropolitan Museum of Art justice – time I would gladly sacrifice for the enlightenment and pleasure it would offer.  For now, I’ll have to settle for this brief taste and look forward with anticipation to the next visit.  If you’re curious about how I spent the rest of my weekend in The Big Apple, take a lookie here.  As much as I enjoy visiting New York, I can only handle it in small doses before I start to feel claustrophobic and nature-starved.  This particular trip was just about perfect.

8 thoughts on “A Peek Inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

  1. Thank you for this peek and for including a van Gogh and a Degas, two of my favorites. It’s fascinating to see a work of art in a setting (Lerolle) where you can realize the size of it. I wish more photographers would do so. Again, thank you. I really enjoyed your post.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂 And I agree with you about seeing artwork in a physical context to get a better appreciation of its size. Lorelle’s painting was gorgeous.

      1. You tell me that and I can just imagine myself sitting there and just staring at it. I think I’d go into the place never to be seen or heard from again. But if I can’t go there in person, at least I can enjoy it vicariously through people like you. Thank you once again. (smiling at you!)

  2. Wow and double wow! Thanks for this terrific insight Stephany. The painting “The Organ Rehearsal (1887), Henry Lerolle” has me intrigued by its scale, and the simplicity of such a striking painting, the light….oh I could go on. The setting for the Temple of Dendar is wonderful and I would want to sit there for hours……Thanks for sharing…regards, James

    1. You’re very welcome, James. Despite all the people near the Temple of Dendar, the atmosphere was quiet and reflective. It definitely felt like a sanctuary. With a lovely view of Central Park in the bargain.

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