The Metropolitan Art Museum, one of the largest art collections in the world
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City is one of the most well known and prestigious museums in the world. We visited on one of those Sundays where we felt inspired and wanted to take the time to enjoy the marvelous works housed in the MET. It’s important to note, however, that this isn’t the type of museum that you visit only once, however, if you are travelling to New York you will want to make the most of your time. Ready to learn and contemplate the artwork we took the subway from our neighborhood in Jackson Heights to 82nd street and 5th Avenue, in the middle of Central Park and Museum Mile, which is where you will find the MET.
The first thing that surprised me at the MET was it’s impressive collection of works that span a variety of styles and periods, as well as the number of galleries that are needed to house so many great works. The museum’s collection includes more than 2 million works of art from around the world. These range from antiques, ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman artifacts, even paintings and sculptures from Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East and many other corners of the world. Among the artists you will find all the well known artists like Rafael, Titian, el Greco, Velázquez, Rodin, Picasso and more.
This museum, although now a symbol of New York City, has it’s origins in Paris. There in the year 1866, a group of Americans created the National Institution of Art in order to give Americans the opportunity to see such important works of art. The idea was proposed by John Jay and he continued the project with his return to the United States. Numerous businessmen, artists and philanthropists came together to support the cause that was quickly becoming a formidable art collection. So, in 1870 at 681 Fifth Avenue, the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened its doors in New York. The first object on exhibit was a roman sarcophagus and since then the MET has continued to grow.
I am sure that everyone has their own personal favorite corner of the MET. I think it would be hard for me to choose just one place in the museum, although if pressed, I’d probably say the area of Greek and Roman art. The sarcophagi are some of the biggest attractions in the gallery (including the sarcophagus of Amathus), but there are also beautiful busts that are illuminated with such detail, the tunics and artifacts of the Romans, as well as the tools and artifacts from both civilizations, as well as a complete model of an entire city that was formed after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, which makes this area a must see.
If we consider the European painters, we might say that the MET has one of the best collections in the world. From the 13th to the 19th century, there are artists such as Corot, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Degas, Cézanne, or Van Gogh, among others. The Egyptian art is also well represented in this museum, including the Temple of Dendu, which was donated by the Egyptian government to the United States in 1965. Other works include the Deir el-Bahri which dates back to the Early Paleolithic period.
We can’t forget the Asian art galleries with their chinese calligraphy and even a garden in the style of the Ming dynasty. The Islamic art with their ornate rugs, ceramics and other decorative elements from the mosques. There are also beautiful pieces of art from Africa, Oceania, and America in the MET. There were two more galleries that really got my attention. The first was the room including suits of armor from around the world. The second were the galleries filled with musical instruments where you can learn about instruments from all around the world. It’s hard to imagine how people play some of these instruments!
I could talk for hours and hours about all there is to see in the museum, but I think it’s better that you decide for yourself when you visit. What I do want to add is that if you want more information, here is an excellent article that our friends from El Guisante Verde project wrote about their visit to the MET at night. According to them with the lighting and emptiness the museum had an indescribable magical quality to it. We ruskommend a visit to the MET with 4 boquerones.
The Cloisters in Washington Heights, an annex of the Metropolitan Museum
I’m sure this is the first time some of you have heard of it, but the MET has an annex dedicated to medieval and religious art in the north of Manhattan known as The Cloisters. We found out about it thanks to a friend who ruskommended that we visit. Since it was far from our home in Jackson Heights we kept putting it off, but when we finally decided to take the train from Queens, it only took us about 20 minutes to get from Times Square (take the A to the 190th St stop and then cross the park).
It was a gorgeous sunny Sunday morning, a bit cold with the recent snowfall that made for an idyllic city landscape. The Cloisters are found in Washington Heights, in the northern part of Manhattan in Fort Tyron Park. I have to admit that if I knew about this beautiful park with its views of the Hudson River and New Jersey, and the calm and quiet area with it’s gardens that seemed like a place better suited for meditation, I would have visited sooner!
In 1917 the philanthropistJohn D. Rockefeller, Jr. acquired the land and began construction on The Cloisters. They included parts of different Abbeys of the French Cloisters. Different buildings, including one in Segovia, Spain, were dismantled piece by piece and sent to New York. In addition, Rockefeller bought land in New Jersey so that the views on the other side of the Hudson wouldn’t be tarnished and no one would be able to build an eyesore there.
I have to admit that in the beginning I expected something more like the Ephrata Cloisters, but it was completely different. This museum has always been a museum. While the building was constructed with attention to detail, no one has ever lived there. The museum’s collection is impressive, especially for those of you who enjoy medieval and religious art and artifacts. The collection is made up of over 5,000 pieces, many of which dating back to the 12th – 15th centuries.
The good part of this museum is that it is small, so unless you go with a guide who explains each piece, it does not take more than a few hours to visit. You will find yourself transported to the past while contemplating medieval manuscripts, paintings, tapestries, relics, statues, tombs, altars and even architectural pieces of different european Abbeys and cloisters.
Another one of my favorite parts, without a doubt was the first floor. As you come down the stairs, you feel like you are transported to old Europe. There is a small room with murals, stained glass windows and different tombs that will transport you to another world. Continuing down the narrow hallway and passing through another gallery with invaluable pieces, you will arrive at the gallery of relics. Here is where you will find medieval pieces sculpted from gold and diamonds. We were left speechless.
You should know that the entry fee for adults in $25 and that, while the express line takes you there in 20 minutes, it is in the north of Manhattan. This is a museum for those who really enjoy medieval and religious art. That being said, the area of the park and building are beautiful and are definitely worth a visit. We ruskommend a visit to the Cloisters with 4 boquerones and 5 if you are a lover of this kind of art.
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- Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
- Telephone number: +1 212-535-7710
- Price: Adults $25; Seniors (65 años) with a valid ID $17; Students $12; Children under 12 (accompanied by an adult) (Suggested prices)
- Hours: Sunday–Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m; Friday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.; Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, January 1, and the first Monday in May
- Address: 99 Margaret Corbin Dr, New York, NY 10040
- Telephone number: +1 212-923-3700
- Price: $25; Seniors (65 años) with a valid ID $17; Students $12; Children under 12 (accompanied by an adult) (Suggested prices)
- Horario: March–October: 10:00 a.m.–5:15 p.m.; November–February: 10:00 a.m.–4:45 p.m.; Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, and January 1
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