Thursday, June 15, 2017

Well Met

I've come to the final full day of our New York trip. It was perhaps the fullest of the vacation, even though we had only one destination that day. That's because that one destination was the Met.

Wikipedia will tell you that the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the U.S., but I think that still fails to convey how big it is. We were there close to six hours, and moving at a fairly swift pace most of the time (especially in the last hour or so). We saw somewhere between a third to a half of the museum. If you really wanted to dive deeply on each section, taking your time on every object, you could easily go back each day for weeks.

Even the sections of the museum themselves are striking, each almost a museum unto itself in layout and presentation. From the ornate, palatial rooms that displayed Renaissance European artifacts... a long plaza displaying great statues... an enormous chamber featuring a massive gate...

...there was something new at every turn. We probably spent the most time in the Greek section (because that's where we started), and the American section (because it was one of the larger sections we visited). But I should not fail to mention the Egyptian wing, the section devoted to arms and armor throughout history (a personal favorite), and an extensive modern art area (with an overall tone different from both MoMA and the Guggenheim)

The highlights were quite varied. Emanuel Leutze's famous painting of "Washington Crossing the Delaware" was a shock -- it's over 21 feet wide and 12 feet tall, taking up an entire wall:

I'm not sure this photo does justice to the profoundly creepy statue "Lilith" by Kiki Smith, hanging upside-down in a stairwell and glaring with haunting eyes:

And we made plenty of irreverent comments that will immediately come back to me whenever I look through our photos. For example, there's the Greek Terminator...

...the human arm rest...

...and the actually not needing comment "Plate With Wife Beating Husband."

With so much left unseen (and the gallery regularly changing what it displays, rotating in items from their vast collection), I can't imagine ever running out of things to see at the Met. If I ever find myself in New York again, a day at the Met would be high on my list. It was a highlight of the trip, and would be followed up with another highlight in our final Broadway show that evening.

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