Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art

New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, commonly referred to as simply, "the Met", is one of the world's most important and comprehensive art museums. The stately neo-classical museum located at the eastern edge of Central Park, features art from virtually all genres, and is particularly noted for its Egyptian, American, and European art collections.

History

The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in 1870 by a group of New York businessmen with the goal of bringing important art to the American public. The core collection consisted of 174 paintings, including works by Van Dyck, Hals, and Poussin. The "Met" continues to grow in the 19th century, but it was in the early 20th century that the museum emerged as a true leader in the art world.

The museum was one of the first museums to recognize and acquire French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. (The Met bought its first Renoir in 1907 and was the first museum to accept the work of Matisse, in 1910.) The Met continues to look for and acquire work by up-and-coming artists.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection

Egyptian Art
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.

Costume Institute
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.

European Paintings
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
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.

Special Exhibits

The Metropolitan hosts a regular schedule of special, temporary exhibits, featuring some of the world's most important artworks. Recent exhibits have included "Fra Angelico", "Gilbert Stuart", "Art Deco Paris", and "Paul Klee: His Years at the Bauhaus". Admission to the special exhibits is including in the museum's regular admission.

Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Sundays, except holidays, year-round. Suggested admission is $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Children under 12 are admitted free if accompanied by an adult. The museum is open Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 930am to 530pm and from 930am to 900pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

The museum offers visitors a variety of dining options, including a self-service cafeteria; the table-service Petit Court Café, which overlooks Central Park; and the Great Hall Balcony Bar, featuring live jazz on Friday and Saturday evenings accompanied by cocktails and light meals. In the warmer months, visitors can also enjoy drinks and snacks in the museum's Roof Top Garden Café.

Holidays are a special time at the "Met". The museum's elaborate Renaissance tree, trimmed with angels and ribbons, accompanied by a Baroque Crèche is a favorite of New Yorkers and visitors alike. The museum's shop is also an excellent place to find unique gifts, jewelry, and cards, many replicas or reprints of items in the museum's collection.

Whenever you visit the "Met", whether for a day or an afternoon, you're sure to find something of interest and delight you.

Location: at 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York
Phone: 212-535-7710
E-mail: access@metmuseum.org

Click here to visit Metropolitan Museum of Art official website.

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