General Question

owenburnett's avatar

What should I see at the Metropolitan Museum of Art?

Asked by owenburnett (183points) March 3rd, 2011

Going to NYC this weekend and I only have a few hours to spare to visit the Met. What famous paintings/artwork should I definitely try to see?

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26 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Oh, dear. You have to think of the Met as the world’s most sumptuous and inviting smorgasbord.

Here is a reality tour of the Met with a look at paintings, decorative arts, sculpture, Egyptian temples, and enough choices to make your head spin. Googlemuseumprojects

Do you want depth or breadth, detail or broad brush, exhaustion or moderate expense of energy, time for the gift shop, a nice lunch by the pond?

PS. I lived within walking distance of the Met for 7 years. I used to drag my toddlers there for a 30 minute spin through the Medieval armor collection and other delectables. I went there alone and with friends regularly. I still have untold galleries, secret wings, rotating exhibits from the archives to view.

janbb's avatar

The Egyptian collection including the Temple of Dendur, the French Impressionist collection, the Medieval armor, the costume halls….....

iamthemob's avatar

People have already mentioned the Temple of Dendur – but, check to see if the Roof Garden is open.

Also, check out the Medieval wing – it’s beautifully done.

blueiiznh's avatar

So much there. One of the most memorable things over the years was seeing washington crossing the deleware

It is amazing!

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s a boffo slide show of the vastly different offerings at the Met; From Bruegel the elder, through primitive carvings, medieval tapestries, 18 century pianofortes, greek helmets, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Roman marbles, L.C. Tiffany stained glass, French salons, and, of course, the Temple of Dendur.

Met sampling

jca's avatar

There is so much there, and more than just art hanging on walls, so it really depends on what you like. @iamthemob – roof garden is usually only open in nice weather, I think.

There is all kinds of furniture, if you like early American, whole rooms done with like you are actually in the room, French, ditto. Stained glass, facades of buildings, medeival armor like @gailcalled said, including Samurai costumes, etc. Religious artifacts, Hawaiian and Pacific art. You could spend a week there. I think I read it’s the largest Museum in the Western Hemisphere. I saw a great exhibit once on clothing that rock stars wore, which was very interesting. If you are into East Asian art, you’ll find that there, as well. If you like silver, you’ll find tons of silverware….

Literally you name it…....

iamthemob's avatar

@jca – the weather’s getting nicer, though. ;-)

PS – See the Frank Lloyd Wright room too – it’s right off the American cafe court enterance to the American wing.

gailcalled's avatar

@iamthemob: It’s a balmy 16˚ two hours N. of NY.

@jca: I think that you will barely begin to see everything in one week, given the need for sleep, food, recovery from eye strain and brain explosions.

One could stand in front of the large Rembrandt’s for a hour and still miss a lot.

breedmitch's avatar

I always make a bee line to the armor rooms.
They’ve recently renovated the Greco-Roman sculpture wing. It’s amazing. Go at night and really appreciate how the sculpture is lit.

iamthemob's avatar

Plus, at night, per @breedmitch‘s suggestion – you can have cocktails on the balcony of the great lobby and enjoy the string music.

gailcalled's avatar

I would like to thank everyone on this thread for triggering my e-trip. The Google art project shows you some of the works from every angle, in close -up and at a distance, walks you through the gallery and almost holds a loaded sable brush for you to pick up.

owenburnett's avatar

wow! such great answers! thank you all for the response- i’m very excited, but i’ll only have about 3–4 hours, so i wanted to make sure i hit the big ones- basically, if the met was the louvre, i’d go see the mona lisa- any specific paintings like that that i just cannot miss?

janbb's avatar

I think of it more as collections than any single standout piece of work. Follow your interests and the above suggestions and you won’t go wrong. The Met is more of a glorious buffet than a set meal.

iamthemob's avatar

@janbb puts it best. The architecture of the museum so profoundly reflects the art of the period – it’s worth seeing how the art is displayed almost as much as the art itself.

gailcalled's avatar

Check the calendar for a ” One-hour HIghlight Tour.”

Today’s was at 10:15 am.

WasCy's avatar

If all I had was three hours at the Louvre, I wouldn’t spend it waiting in line to see the Mona Lisa. So I’d use the same rationale at the Met, and see what I could, without waiting forever to do it.

jca's avatar

@iamthemob – not sure where you are from, but @gailcalled said it best – the weather is improving, but it’s far from nice, and not summery at all.

iamthemob's avatar

Nicer – I’m in NYC. Yesterday was gorgeous.

gailcalled's avatar

@iamthemob And now heading towards 6˚ later tonight. But the weekend should be milder: low 50’s and some rain unless Canada changes her mind and sends another arctic air mass our way.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Every time I go to the Met, I see Sargent’s Portrait of Madame X, the Frank Lloyd Wright Rooms and whatever’s in the current rotation at the Costume Institute.

susanc's avatar

If you really just want the top 5 hits, you have your answer. But just for the record, I wandered into the Islamic Wing by accident one year without ever having known it was there, and I had to go back for the next three days. It’s stunning.

gailcalled's avatar

@susanc: So that’s where you’ve been, wandering the Islamic Wing at the Met.)

owenburnett's avatar

thanks again, everyone!

gailcalled's avatar

@owenburnett: Report back, if you will, after your trip.

LostInParadise's avatar

Check out the Michael Rockefeller New Guinea collection. There is some really great stuff, although the two times I visited there was hardly anyone else there.

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