Whether you’re a New York native or a first time visitor, without denial— the MET is the museum to visit in NYC.
Spanning two floors, The Metropolitan Museum of Art boasts well over 300 rooms and houses with some of the finest works of art the world has to offer. Priceless paintings, drawings and sculptures can be found within the countless exhibitions, while the beautifully curated galleries arguably outshine those of many other monumental museums. At the MET, the curation of the art is an art form in itself. Pieces are displayed together in ways that emphasize either a contrast or a striking similarity. Even the colors of the gallery walls have been chosen to bring out the best in each and every painting.
Yet there is much more to the MET than merely paintings. Lesser known, but no less breath-taking, are its furniture collections. In European Sculpture and Decorative Arts (Room 507) a Venetian bedroom is brought to life, complete with a bed, desk, side tables, lounge chair and a vanity mirror. The ceiling swarms with cherubs carved into the crown moulding and two beautifully painted murals. Moving through the centuries and continents, the British Interiors exhibits, brightly colored in golden yellows and lavish blues, are truly a sight to see for anyone who enjoys interior design or architecture. Returning to home soil, the American House (located off of the Room 700 courtyard) is a great place to find authentic American furniture pieces, many hailing from New York City itself. On the second floor of the American house, you can find a quirky collection of paintings, sculpture and pottery— items currently independent of any specific exhibit. Such a collection is perfect for guests without much time on their hands, showcasing the vast scope of the MET’s repertoire in a single location.
The MET also offers an extensive collection of Asian art, including a 14-foot-tall statue of Bodhisattva. The star of the collection, however, is the Zen garden (Room 217). Complete with koi fish pond, the Chinese Garden Court boasts an open skylight roof, Asian flora, a small temple and a covered walkway. The garden especially shines when visiting the MET after dark. In the moonlight, the tranquillity of the garden with its dribbling koi pond is extremely relaxing, perhaps even therapeutic.
The most extensive and famous parts of the MET include the American and European paintings sections. In European Paintings on the second floor, Gallery 635 is a must see, especially for those with a penchant for Gothic art. The paintings featured in this gallery are wonderfully eerie, with dark canvasses and bright, almost luminous, subjects. Paintings featured in this exhibit include Vanitas Still Life by Jacob de Gheyn II, as well as Gamepiece with a Dead Heron by Jan Weenix. Further on from the Gothic, Gallery 821 marks the start of the Impressionist movement and includes works by the likes of Monet, Manet and Degas amongst many other amazing artists.
In the American Art exhibit, the top two Galleries to see are 760 and 767. Walking into Gallery 760, the first thing you will see is the extremely large painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware, measuring up at an impressive 149 x 255 inches. While many people may visit the room for this painting alone, the real treasures are the enormous landscape paintings that cover the rest of the walls. The painstaking details in these works are simply magnificent, causing them to look more like photographs than paintings. The gallery also includes The Valley of Wyoming by Jasper Francis Cropsey, as well as a beautiful portrait of The Aegean Sea by Frederic Edwin Church.
The MET also has galleries away from its permanent 5th Avenue address, including the Met Breuer, which features modern and contemporary art, and the MET Cloisters. Situated on the edge of New York City, the Cloisters specialises in medieval art such as the Hunt of the Unicorn, as well as tapestries and other exquisite items from ancient French monasteries. As half of the exhibits are outside, exposed to the open air, a visit to the Cloisters makes for an excellent day-trip, or simply a means of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city.
New York City continues to be one of the biggest art hubs in the world, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art at its centre.
Edited by Sophie Walker & Demi Vitkute