If you can only visit one museum in New York, this should be it; the Met’s hallowed halls contain one of the most dazzling and comprehensive classical art collections in the world. More than two million works are on display here, spanning more than 5,000 years of global culture—from Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities to European sculpture and paintings, and from early photography to elaborate period costumes. Don’t try to do too much; pick an exhibit hall or two and commit fully.
By AFAR Traveler
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The Metropolitan Museum
It’s one of the world’s most renowned museums for a reason. Founded 145 years ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or simply the Met, has more than two million works spread out over five floors that spans two million square feet. To celebrate the centennial of the Museum's Department of Asian Art, the Met is currently highlighting Asian artists through the remainder of the year with galleries, exhibits and a calendar filled with presentations, though a temporary exhibition covering another part of the world, Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom—a collection of 230 works and groups from that transitional period, is among the season’s cultural not to be missed highlights.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The MET is a world-renowned museum with a collection that spans centuries, cultures, and mediums. The history of art shapes the lens through which I look at contemporary art. I learned so much from being able to see the range the MET offers: from ancient Egyptian art, to designer Alexander McQueen’s exhibition at the Costume Institute of the MET, to the furniture by the Roentgens brothers, all co-existing within the same walls. I’m also excited by the hire of Sheena Wagstaff, who will oversee the MET’s new department focused on 20th- and 21st-century art.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art reopened its renovated Islamic Art gallery in late 2011. The gallery features a diverse array of works from the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia.
The eight-year, $50 million renovation covers 15 rooms of art that represents 1,500 years of Islamic culture. Browse Ottoman carpets, Persian miniatures, Quranic calligraphy, pottery, mosaics and more, all rich with detail.
My favorite is a large replica of an elaborate 14th century Moroccan courtyard that represents the physical and spiritual center of a home or a mosque. The Met hired a team of 14 Moroccan artists from Fez - they lived in a rental in Jackson Heights, Queens and commuted to the museum every day. Paying close attention to historical detail and artisan traditions, they created a masterpiece. The mosaic itself is so intricate it often involved the use of tweezers to install small pieces.
The Damascus Room is a wood-paneled 18th century Ottoman reception room in the Metropolitan Museum's gallery of Islamic art. It hails from an upper class Syrian home and was likely used in the winter to keep guests warm.
During the Met's enormous renovation of the Islamic galleries a few years ago, the 26-foot long Damascus Room was disassembled and painstakingly refurbished by a team of artisans. Upon its completion, it was put back together like an intricate puzzle. Visitors today are treated to a room rich with warm, burnished wood carved and inscribed with flowers and poetic verses; muted jewel colors; gold calligraphy; and floors of intricately inlaid marble.
The beautiful room inspires hushed tones and contemplation. Take a moment to review and reflect.
Perched above Central Park’s canopy of green, the Roof Garden Café offers spectacular vistas of the park and the canyon skyline of Midtown, as well as beverages and tasty snacks. It is open from May through the late fall.
This is the ceiling of a ceremonial house in a Kwoma village. The Kwoma are a group of people that live in New Guinea. Not much is known about them, but the mystery adds to the sensational effect that these wooden panels have when you are trying to figure out what they could be.
These carvings represent supernatural beings that are used to protect homes. Thankfully, you don't have to go all the way to New Guinea to see them up close. They are part of The Metropolitan Museum of Art's permanent collection and can be seen in the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing.
Perusing the art-filled halls of The Met... What a lovely way to while away the afternoon in NYC. The sublime feeling of viewing a Gustav Klimt in a noble gallery while polar winds roar outside on the city streets, is unmatched. One of the many glories of life and culture in the Big Apple~
I really enjoyed the exhibits at the Met, they were engaging and educational. My favorites include the fashion exhibit, the Kongo exhibit, and the European art exhibits. Unfortunately I wasn't at peace the whole time because it was very crowded. The food in the cafeteria was overpriced and the selection was small.