We thought we would pop into the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a quick visit. An hour and a half or two hours, we would be out of there. Five hours later, sore feet and sore backs, bloodshot eyes and reeling with exhaustion, we decided to call it quits, having seen about a quarter of what was on offer. We started in the Hellenic period looking at beautiful marble and golden jewellery and then moved on to Ancient Egypt. It is utterly incredible what the Met has in its collections, whole temples, many mummies, hundreds of artefacts. I was initially a bit uncomfortable with the sheer mass of what looked remarkably like plunder, but felt better when we discovered the millions the Met gave to Egypt to save thousands of treasures from destruction when the Aswan dam was extended.
From there was detoured through armour (from Europe to Japan – incredible watered steel and burnished helms), into the American wing. From our perspective, this was the most interesting area. We saw original furniture, from polished mahogany and glittering chandeliers to plain shaker wooden chairs, sweeping staircases, Vanderbilt’s library, a Frank Lloyd Wright home and so much more in the glass-fronted storage room. But best of all was the collections of Tiffany glassware, lamps, and stained-glass windows, all perfectly backlit. Honestly, I stood looking at it and thought that I’d reached the pinnacle of my experience at the Met.
Until we went upstairs yo the a Impressionists.
Degas, Manet, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Van Gough, Degas, Picasso, Cezanne, Degas, Matisse, Seurat, Degas, Manet, Monet….. There really is nothing I can say, except that coming one after each other, circling through the rooms leading in and out, seeing the canvasses building into a crescendo of brush-strokes was amazing in the most original sense of the word. Stunned and struck dumb, especially by the enormous collection of Degas statues which I didn’t even know existed, I ended up sitting in front of Monet’s water lilies in a moment of peace and clarity in an increasingly blurry world.
What a place!