I. LOVE. Art.
As you may or may not know, i very occassionally dabble in a splash of painting (though havn’t picked up a brush since before i first left Australia due to the travelling) and have had a wonderful time learning more about photography as my journey has progressed. Art was one of my favourite subjects at school in Australia and I externally studied a bit of Art History for interests sake. Everyone says the following but i must re-iterate as it’s absolutely true – It’s one thing to read about the artists and see their famous paintings over and over again in books and reproduced images but it is COMPLETELY different (and somewhat spiritual, in the sense of being profoundly moved by particular works, at least for me) to see them in real life, no matter how big or small. For me, in terms of art, New York is the holy city and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is my mecca, my at least once in a lifetime must do experience. On Friday, after navigating the subway and walking along the eastern edge of Central Park, along what is known as Museum Mile of 5th ave… I arrived.
Entering the museum with jittery excitement i bought my ticket (payment isn’t compulsory but they have a ‘suggested donation”), popped on the headset for the audio and went left into the rooms of Greek and Roman art.
The Gallery owns more than 35,000 of Greek and Roman works dated through A.D. 312! And this was just the beginning! It has a permanent collection containing more than two million works of art, and is one of the world’s largest galleries.
It’s divided into nineteen curatorial departments. Here are favorites from the “Arts of Africa, Oceania and America’s” Collection
And many, many more collections
Filled with endless insights into incredible history and innumerable masterpieces of such diversity and quality; one can easily become overwhelmed by this experience. I certainly was, but combatted this by focusing on a couple of works that particularly resonated with me in each room instead of trying to properly appreciate them all which would have no doubt exploded my underpowered brain
The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of American citizens. The founders included businessmen and financiers, as well as leading artists and thinkers of the day, who wanted to open a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. I wonder if they knew of the immense global impact their gallery would have. Not only do Americans come to explore the artistic wonders the of the world, people from all of the world (including my dandy self) come to admire the collection that the American’s amassed. The Gallery also greatly influences other world galleries by providing traveling exhibitions and also setting the bar to what other gathers can hope to be. Is it a bit obvious how much i adore it? The amount of incredible, famous masterpieces is insane… casually wandering out of one collection to find the next and out of the corner of my eye – Rembrandt’s self-portrait! I was excited but also terrified at how easily i could have passed it by, i can only wonder how many other renowned works i missed. But as i say, alllll too easily now, i’ll be back.
I stopped midday for a lunchtime break and enjoyed a delicious meal, seated infront of a Rodin sculpture. Yes. A Rodin!
Then there was the Picasso exhibition, which is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on works by Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973) in the Museum’s collection. The museums collection of Picasso began out of the blue in 1947 Gertrude Stein got the ball rolling when she gave the museum its first Picasso, the portrait he had painted of her in Paris between 1905 and 1906. Their Picasso collection now consists of 34 paintings, 58 drawings, a dozen sculptures and ceramics, along with 200 of the museum’s 400 print and the exhibition itself features 250 of these works.
It was a wonderful day and one not easily forgotten