Thursday, January 11, 2007

Culture vulture

I thought I would share some more photos I took while I was visiting other museums and art galleries in NYC. Firstly,The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or The Met as it is known was founded in 1872 and is located on 5th Ave on the Eastern edge of Central Park. It's permanent collection contains more than two million works of art from around the world. The collection's holdings range from treasures of classical antiquity, to paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, to an extensive collection of American art. It also has an encyclopaedic collection of musical instruments from all over the world on view, as well as a number of recreations of notable interiors. The Department of Arms and Armour displays a collection of antique weapons and armour from around the world including a suit of armour made for King Henry VIII of England.

The photo above is of one of the many halls housing collections of ancient Greek and Roman art. I love the fact that this picture shows the living mingling with the motionless scultures that were carved by long gone artists. In the photo they all stand regarding one another. The photo below is a close up of the statue that is in the middle of the hall in the first photo. I learned that the way to tell Greek and Roman sculpture apart is that Roman sculpture always has a tree trunk or other article (as in the pic below) to support the figure where this is absent in Greek sculpture.

It was quite inspiring to spend time in the presence of these ancient works of art. The halls were quiet and serene and you could almost feel the 'age' of the pieces as you looked at them as the air felt heavy with years. This was also true when I went to visit the Egyptology section. The photo below shows an Egyption carving of a tablet and head and it was marvellous how close you could get to these pieces.

Many of the Egyptian items at The Met are from private collections but about half were uncovered during the museum's own archeological excavations, carried out between 1906 and 1941 However, the popular centerpiece of the Egyptian Art department continues to be the Temple of Dendur which was dismantled by the Egyptian government to save it from rising waters caused by the building of the Aswan Dam. The large sandstone temple was given to the United States in 1965 and assembled in the Met's Sackler Wing in 1978. It is situated in a large room, partially surrounded by a reflecting pool and illuminated by a wall of windows opening onto Central Park and was an amazing sight to behold when you stepped into the hall. The picture below is of the Temple itself and you could walk right inside it.

I also saw many masterpieces while I was there and among them was the picture below - Water Lily Pond (Le bassin aux Nympheas) (1899). The Met contains many of the world's most instantly recognisable paintings in European art including thirty-seven paintings by Monet, twenty-one oils by Cezanne, and eighteen Rembrandts and also paintings by Vemeer and Van Gogh among others.

I also visited the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) while in NYC. The idea for MoMA was conceived by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller (wife of John D Rockerfeller Jr.) and two friends, Lillie P. Bliss and Mrs Cornelius Sullivan. The museum opened to the public in 1929, ten days after the Wall Street Crash in a rented space. MoMA's permanent and current home was designed by the modernist architects Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone and opened to the public in 1939. It is an absolutely incredible building on the inside, very white with clean lines as you can see from the photo below.

MoMA had many displays by modern and contemporary artists, some of which I liked and others which did nothing for me. They also had works by Monet, Van Gogh and Warhol. I watched part of a film of his that was running in one room called 'Empire' which is 8 hours of footage of the Empire State Building shot from his apartment. They also had on display the complete collection of his Campbells Soup paintings. These are early works of his and I smiled when I saw such iconic works. I also remembered a post by Old Old Lady of the Hills (Here in the Hills link in the side bar) where she described seeing these pictures on display for sale for the first time.

It was an incredible experience seeing all these works of art. I spent half a day in each museum and really could have spent much longer, especially at The Met where whole sections remain unexplored. Of course, that gives me an excuse to go back and see some more one day.

24 comments:

chrysalis said...

I loooooove museums. I love the vastness and the solemnity. These are great pictures.

Hi from Michele's.

Melody said...

Oh wow! Do you know how much I love that Monet painting??? I have been to this 'off the beaten track' art gallery in Paris that houses most of Monet's waterlillies series - that was pretty special. Anyway, how lucky were you to see all these wonderful paintings in the flesh?

Wordnerd said...

Oh, wow -- glad Michele sent me your way tonight. The photos are exquisite! My favorite is the "great hall" -- incredible, really!

kenju said...

Bob-kat, I think you could spend 2 weeks at the Met and no see it all! The MOMA, I don't know. I saw some of it in 30 minutes last August (we got there late)..LOL

P.S. Thanks for the visit and comment. There was no trip involved, as he lived in Manhattan back then.

Sarch said...

Wow I would love to see those Greek and Roman sculptures (among other things you mentioned). The blurb about Roman sculpture always having a supporting plant or item is an interesting tidbit.
Thanks for the tour.

Dachsies Rule said...

Mom says when she goes to museums she ends up staying longer than she intends. She has been to most of the museums along the National Mall in Washington DC and to the Houston MoMA. The history they hold is amazing. Thanks for sharing such lovely pictures and, once again, great narrative.

Ps said...

I simply love monet.I've seen so many prints of his work--Imagine the thrill of seeing the original!Its really nice that you are able to travel and see so much.Such lovely sculptures too.Thanks for sharing.

Mr. Althouse said...

Very nice! I didn't used to think much of museaums, but with age comes a new appreciation.

Michele sends her best,

Mike

grant said...

Hey Bob-kat. Museums aren't really my thing but those soup cans are amazing.
MMMmmm noodle soup. Damn it!
Oh, Michelle sent me

Carmi said...

I would count your pictures of the museum as masterpieces. I've never been able to quite nail the mood of the interiors as well as you have here.

Makes me want to go to our city's main museum. You've inspired me!

kenju said...

I never knew the way to tell Greek and Roman statues apart before, so I appreciate knowing that! Michele sent me back.

Zeus said...

For those of us who can't easily get to such extraordinary places, you always make it feel like we went there with you. I feel like I walked the entire museum today! If I ever make it to NYC, I hope I get to see it person!

craziequeen said...

I still can't think of the Met without remember Joey in Friends mixing up The Mets and The Met! :-)

My mum has a fabulous jigsaw of the water Lily Pond.

Great pictures, bobkat - but I told you that already :-)

cq
Michele sent me here this time.

kenju said...

Michele sent me back yet again, Bob-kat! For some odd reason, I cannot leave a comment for CQ, but I can for you!

A Army Of (Cl)One said...

Hello from Michele.

I haven't been to the MET in over 20 years. I went with my Aunt on one of my visit to the East Coast. It was amazing to see so much art that I had only seen in my history classes or in books.

Expat Traveler said...

wow - I love these photos. They are quite interesting for a museum of all places. ggreat lighting!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What wonderful pictures B-K....It is great to see your view of these works of art at these WONDERFUL Museums...I have spent a lot of time at The Met and at MOMA, as well as at The Museum Of Natural History...There were so many great things about growing up close to New York City...So many fantastic cultural things to feast the eyes and ears and soul on....!
And you've capyured so much of these with your camera....Can't wait to see more!

El Duder said...

Uber pix!

PI said...

I love museums - especially if they are in exciting places like NY or Paris. My favourite in NY was the Frick Museum - not just because it is possibly the smallest but it is so pretty and peaceful.
Unfortunately it was in the seventies so no digital camera. Thanks for sharing

PI said...

BTW Michelle sent me.

mar said...

Excellent post and pics, Bob-kat, such an amazing museum!

Kristi Mantoni said...

great pics!!!!!!!!!

kenju said...

Good night, Bob-kat, sleep tight!
Michele sent me to say that.

Oracle said...

I love Museums,

I'm gonna come back and read more later ;)

Appreciation of art truly is in the imagination of the beholder ;)

Thanks for the comments yesterday by the way ;)

Here via Michele's