Snapshot: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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Of all the iconic landmarks in New York City, none stokes the flames of my wanderlust quite like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The beautiful Beaux-Arts building contains some two million artifacts from around the globe, making it possible to travel from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe in the span of a single afternoon. But just like the dilemma of choosing a travel destination, the sheer size of the collection is enough to throw one into a state of indecision. Near Eastern or new American art? Medieval armaments or 19th century musical instruments? Do I return to the beloved and oft-visited French Impressionist gallery or seek out a new corner of the art world I’ve yet to explore?

Having just returned from two years in Asia, where we delved into the treasures of Korea, Thailand and China, we were eager for something a little different. We started in the wing dedicated to Roman and Greek sculptures, taking in elegant busts of Athena and towering likenesses of Hercules, elaborately carved marble sarcophagi and colorful mosaic floor panels from ancient villas. It was almost like being transported to the Eternal City, circa 50 B.C.

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After admiring relics from Caesar’s time, it was only fitting that our next stop should be Cleopatra’s Egypt. Here, a whole temple carved with hieroglyphics stands next to the intricately painted mummies that were once sheltered inside. Decorative murals adorn the walls just as they did two millennia ago while stoic stone gods look on. It’s easy to get lost in the maze-like chambers filled with treasures from the royal tombs, but just as all roads lead to Rome, all of the Met’s hallways seem to lead to the French Impressionists.

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I simply can’t visit the Met without appreciating the distinctive brushstrokes and layers of color used by Monet, Renoir and their contemporaries. Looking at the dreamy European landscapes, I’m amazed that the initial reaction to this revolutionary style was so unenthusiastic. But thankfully the Impressionists persevered and even inspired the next generation of artists. Did you know that Van Gogh’s famous sunflowers are the result of his attempt to copy an earlier work by Monet? As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

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Have you been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

Which pieces are your favorites?

 

Heather Hall

Heather Hall

Passionate about travel, food, history and animals, Heather brings a curiosity and fun-loving attitude to most any experience that comes along. The Virginia native has lived abroad since 2011, first in Shanghai, China and now in Riga, Latvia. Follow along as she explores the cultures and cuisines of Europe on her blog, Ferreting Out the Fun!

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26 thoughts on “Snapshot: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

  1. Ah the Met. Gotta love it, something for just about everyone and so large are the collections you really need more than an afternoon to appreciate it all. Kudos for featuring it.
    Maria recently posted…Just 5 Little WordsMy Profile

    • Thanks Maria, it’s one of my favorite places in the city. I think you could spend weeks inside and still not see all of its cultural riches.

    • NYC has so many great attractions it can be hard to choose! If you like museums, then the Met is a must on your next visit 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Tanya! I’m using a simple point-and-shoot camera – Canon S95. It’s several years old and I’ve been quite happy with it. If and when I upgrade, I’ll stick with Canon.

  2. Nice one Heather! I love art museums and some bits of this one remind me of the British Museum in London which was and still is free.

    • Thanks, Franca! I’ve been to London twice and somehow never made it to the British Museum. I blame it on being a teenager at the time 🙂 I’m sure to appreciate it much more now that I’m older.

  3. I love going to the Met. The roof top is a great place to go when it’s open in the summer months. Last time we were in New York we arranged for a guide to show us through the special exhibition that was on…it was certainly worth it as she also took us through a couple of the other areas as well. Lucky you being able to pop back whenever you want to!
    jenny@atasteoftravel recently posted…An Introduction to Istanbul for the First Time VisitorMy Profile

    • Ooh, I didn’t know you can hire a guide at the Met! I might have to look into that for next time, I bet it’s an interesting way to see the museum and you’re sure to learn something new.

    • If it makes you feel any better, I think I only went four times when I lived in Manhattan – and I was there for five years! It’s such an amazing place, but visiting can be a big time commitment. If I could do it again, I’d get a membership so I could pop by whenever I wanted and not feel like I had to see everything at once to get my money’s worth.

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