Even if you don’t exactly consider yourself a connoisseur and art lover, when visiting New York, even as an ordinary tourist, you shouldn’t miss a tour of the Metropolitan Museum, which is one of the most important museums in the country. You will see that you will not regret it!
You can find the museum in the eastern part of Manhattan, near Central Park. In addition to being the most important in the United States of America, it also boasts another Nej – it is the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere, and that’s saying something. Around 5 million visitors from various corners of the planet visit it every year. It houses many famous works of art and their collection numbers around two million items. They contain the history of almost the entire world, from antiquity to the present. The collections are very diverse, ranging from ancient Egyptian vases and Roman sculptures to paintings and sculptures by almost all European masters.
There is an extensive collection of American and modern art, but you will not be deprived of African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine and Islamic art. The museum houses both encyclopedic collections and collections of musical instruments, antique weapons and armor from around the world. The museum also exhibits a collection where you can see more than 80,000 costumes and accessories from different periods and continents. The museum also has a large collection of more than 20,000 photographs.
According to Toppharmacyschools, the museum is so extensive that it is not possible to see all the exhibited exhibits in one, or even in several days. Some of its parts would be given to separate museums. So the best thing to do is to choose one or more areas that interest you and go see them. It is also possible to purchase one of the tours offered, for example the Museum Highlights Tour, where the greatest attractions and unique items are presented to you. In short, everyone will find something for themselves here.
The museum was founded by diplomat and lawyer John Jay, who told a group of American businessmen that it was time for the American people to lay the foundation for a national art institution and gallery. His words had such a great influence on them that they immediately decided to appoint the poet and journalist William Cullen Bryant as the director of the commission charged with the establishment of the Metropolitan Museum. Bryant really took up this task with full vigour, taking care of the concept of the museum and his efforts were rewarded in 1870 with the opening of the museum in temporary premises. A year later, the museum acquired its first collection of 174 European canvases and had to be moved to larger premises.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is now housed in a very large building, which was built in 1874 in the Gothic style by the architect Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould. The building did not get its characteristic facade until 1902, when it was built by his son according to the design of Richard Morris. Over time, the building grew with additional wings, but additions, renovations and changes continue today. Parts of the original building can be seen from the Lehnam Wing and from the European Sculpture Court.
Before you go inside, check out the building from the outside, best seen from Fifth Avenue. It is surrounded by billboards announcing limited-time exhibitions. If you visited New York in 2005, you might have seen a banner inviting you to visit with the title “Prague, the Crown of Bohemia”, which translates as “Prague, the crown of the Kingdom of Bohemia”. It was one of the biggest museum exhibitions in recent years. The museum is divided into nineteen separate parts, each of which has its own curators, restorers and scholars. As you enter the building, the Great Hall opens before you. You can get your bearings there before you go on an endless tour. After entering the museum, everything seems very chaotic and complicated to everyone, but if you give it a little time, you will find that everything falls apart logically. The first floor is divided into 6 parts – Egyptian, American, Greek and Roman, African, Oceanic and modern art. The second floor houses European painting with masterpieces by Botticelli, Brueghel, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas and Rodin. Anyone who keeps track of where they turned and where they are right now doesn’t just get lost – they just want to perceive their surroundings a little. In addition, guests receive a map with a drawing of the building – the so-called floor plan – upon entry.
In 1883, a collection of architectural casts was purchased for the museum, because the workers thought that the originals of the works would never have a chance to be acquired for the museum. Images and cast sculptures reproduced in this way belonged to important exhibits for many years. In 1917, visitors were greeted by 1:20 scale models of the Pantheon, Parthenon, Notre-Dame and the Karnak temple complex. The museum acquired its first unique and valuable collection thanks to the loan of 37 European canvases from financier Henry Gurdon Marquand. The Metropolitan Museum thus quickly gained world recognition and became one of the best in the country. Another successful year was 1913, when the museum acquired the estate of Benjamin Altman, which included almost 500 pieces of Chinese porcelain and a number of Rembrandt paintings. In the same year, the son of the late financier JP donated to the museum Morgana about 40% of his father’s collections. In this way, more and more artifacts, important gifts, valuable works and exhibits were added, and the museum expanded at a tremendous speed.
The Americans themselves are most proud of the majestic American Wing, which is themed on the architecture and art of America. But Lehman’s collection of early Italian and Impressionist paintings, donated to the museum in 1969 by the Robert Lehman Foundation, is also amazing. Among the permanent exhibitions, you will also find a poster by Alfons Mucha, František Kupka and a recently acquired vessel from Prague, dating from the third quarter of the 14th century, which is a gift from the collection of oil magnate Charles Wrightsman in 2000. The art exhibition in the Michael C. Rockefeller Department is fascinating, who was a passionate collector and connoisseur. In 1961, however, he perished in New Guinea, but to this day it has not been established how – he was probably eaten by a crocodile, a shark, or even killed by island cannibals. The Chinese and Japanese collections, as well as other collections of Asian art, are compelling in their scope and age. In the Ancient Egypt department, you will find its icon, the shrine of Dendur dating from 15 BC, which was donated to the museum in 1965 by the Egyptian government.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is open to the public throughout the week except Mondays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, the opening hours are even extended until 9 p.m. If you want to quietly enjoy the local environment and fully perceive it, visit the museum on Friday after 5 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for students.