The Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection
The Met's extensive Egyptian art holdings include over 36,000 items acquired from Egyptian-sponsored museum excavations and private collections. The museum is particularly rich in royal and private art from the Middle and Early New Kingdoms and funerary art from the Third Intermediate Period. The highlight of the museum's Egyptian art collection is the "Temple of Dendur", an authentic structure dating from 15 B.C.E and a gift from Egypt, painstakingly rebuilt within the museum.
American Paintings and Sculpture
The Met, since its inception, has emphasized American art. Noteworthy among the collection are Gilbert Stuarts portrait of George Washington and Emanuel Leutze’s "Washington Crossing the Delaware". The museum is also known for its extensive holdings of American artists, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and James Whistler.
The Costume Institute, begun in 1937, today contains over 80,000 costumes and accessories. Some of New York’s most visible society ladies and well as designers from all over the world have contributed to this wonderful collection. The institute’s holdings are rotated regularly to help preserve the costumes, but highlights include items by Dior, Versace, Givenchy, and Chanel.
The Met’s European paintings collection includes some of the most recognizable paintings in the world. The collection, which emphasizes Old Masters and 19th century French, Italian, and Dutch art, includes 37 works by Monet, 21 works by Cézanne, and 18 works by Rembrandt. The museum’s five Vermeer paintings constitute the largest holding of Vermeers anywhere in the world. Highlights of the European paintings collection include David’s "Death of Socrates", Duccio’s "Madonna and Child", and Van Gogh’s "Self Portrait in a Straw Hat".
European Decorative Art
The European decorative arts collection is one of the largest sections in the museum. This collection includes over 50,000 items of furniture, jewelry, tableware, and ceramics, dating from the 1400s to the present. Highlights of this collection include a 15th century Dutch bakery made entirely of Delft tile and reconstructed within the museum. Other period rooms include an 18th century French parlor with elaborately carved paneling and a 16th century Spanish wooden courtyard, complete with a balcony.
The Cloisters is the Metropolitan’s museum of medieval art. Located away from the main museum on four acres along the Hudson River, the Cloisters features over 5000 objects of medieval European art. The building itself is worth the trip. It is built from the salvaged remains of five European cloisters and features many singular architectural details, such as stained glass windows and carved moldings. Same-day admission to the Cloisters is included in the Metropolitan Museum admission and a shuttle bus runs regularly between the two museums.
In addition to the above collections, the Met has a vast collection of Islamic art, Greek and Roman art, a fascinating and dramatic armor court, a reconstructed Japanese Tea Garden, and unique collection of 18th and 19th century musical instruments.