Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday at the Met

...the one in which we discover the treasures of the Met...

The Plan called for us to be at the Metropolitan Museum of Art when it opened at 9:00 am on Sunday morning.


That didn't happen.

Oh, our alarm went off - as scheduled - at 8:00 am on Sunday morning...but my exhausted body protested a bit too much, and so I hit the snooze button...again...and again...and again.

Needless to say, we didn't set out for the Met until 10:00 am that morning.

Which was TOTALLY fine with all of us. We enjoyed our extra sleep that Sunday morning, as well as a leisurely breakfast at the hotel.

Anyway...the Metropolitan is located at 1000 5th Avenue - near 82nd Street - and backs up to the East side of Central Park. We got wise, and decided to utilize the subway as much as possible...which was a very wise and very smart decision.

Big smiles for NYC's subway system....

We arrived at the Met with a bit of time to spare before our 11:00 am tour, so we waited outside and watched the hordes of Sunday-morning barbarians - like us - descend on the museum:

Let's talk about the Met for a's THE largest art museum in the United States - and one of the largest in the world. This is a fact...and must be understood up front that you will NEVER be able to see it all - or do it all - in the course of a day. Heck, in the course of a week...or a month, for that matter.

It's simply MASSIVE.

Knowing this, we had done our research up front and had made a list of priorities that we wanted to see... we also then engaged a tour guide that would take us to the highlights of the museum.

Our tour was with a company called Big Onion Walking Tours, who is ranked #55 out of 416 activities in NYC on Trip Advisor. The particular tour we chose was "America's Museum: Art and History of the Metropolitan." A two-hour tour cost $108 for the three of us, which included our admission cost to the museum.

Ah. Speaking of admission cost to the's technically free. Yes - per a New York state law, admission to the Met is FREE. But...those sneaky trustees and curators at the Museum...they don't really TELL you that. When you approach the entrance, there are signs that say the cost is $25 per person...but in teeny, tiny, microscopic letters - it will say "Recommended." As in - you technically don't have to pay a dime to enter. Pay what you want - or pay nothing - and they can't deny you entrance. Just a tip.

Daughter is super excited - maybe one day, HER work will be on display here!

Soon, it was 11:00 am, and we met up with our guide, Jessica, along with several other people who would be on the tour with us. Jessica is a lecturer at Columbia University - and she knows her art and art history. She initially takes us OUTSIDE the museum to discuss the architecture and the initial history of the museum, which was really fascinating.

See those blocks of concrete....? Those were supposed to be ornate statues...but the initial founders ran out of money...oops.

I'm not going to give YOU a two-hour tour...or even show you the over 2 million pieces of artwork they have on display here...but this gives you an idea of some of the cool things we saw:

Jessica had us visiting Egyptian, African, European, Roman, and Greek works...she didn't just explain what we were seeing, but she went deeper...sometimes explaining how nefarious the museum was in acquiring its vast collections. She told us how to read the tags, and emphasized that not everything is as it appears in the museum.

For instance, the most expensive piece of artwork in the museum is this piece:

This was done by an artist named Duccio, a very influential artist of the late 13th century. Jessica explained not only why this piece is considered a treasure - but also why a lot of art historians believe that the Met's piece is an excellent forgery. I don't think the Met curators want us to think this is a forgery.

Jessica told us a LOT of things this morning that I don't think the Museum Big Shots would want us to know - or to hear. It was awesome. The "Anti-Met" Tour, is what Hubby began calling it. Not your typical "cheerleader, Rah! Rah" tour that is sometimes typical, as in, "Look at how AMAZING we are here!!!"

Edgy. Daughter likes things that are edgy.

Daughter was therefore hanging on Jessica's every word:

It wasn't all talk with Jessica...she sometimes had the tour group pantomining a sculpture, in order to fully comprehend what the artist was saying....I stood back and couldn't help but find this scene a bit amusing:

I had to wonder what the Sunday afternoon crowds were thinking if they'd walked in on that scene. Speaking of crowds, the Met is massive, as I said, which somewhat disperses the hordes - but there are certain rooms/collections that are definitely crowded...I took this photo purposely to show a typical crowd scene:

I think what impressed me about the Met was its use of different architecture and design elements used to showcase the collections...each room/galley was amazing in its own right, as this short series of photos will show:

You could walk through the Met, never looking at the art - but just soaking in the architecture in the rooms. It was absolutely beautiful.

We also enjoyed stumbling across various patrons who were sketching...

Daughter was fascinated by this guy...she spent a bit of time just watching him work....

This looks so relaxing...I WISH I were artistic and could do this...sigh....

Soon, it was time to say goodbye to Jessica....We really enjoyed this short tour, and the different perspective she brought to the museum. Not only did we see quite a few highlights, but we got the "inside scoop", so to speak, and the trivia that we love so much.

Before heading for some lunch, I wanted to show Hubby and Daughter a hidden treasure at the Met. I had discovered this in my online research, and it was now time to go discover it....

Stay tuned!



Janey Powell said...

WOW ... gorgeous photos. Really makes me want to visit there.

Janey Powell said...

WOW ,,, great photos, makes me want to visit The Met