Night (er..Day) at The Museum
On my most recent trip to NYC, I finally had the chance to visit The Metropolitan Museum of Art! It was a sweltering day and the museum was filled to the brim with vacationing tourists, kids on summer break and locals looking to escape the heat. I had been told that the Met is HUGE, but was still in awe of the scale of this architectural feat, smack in the middle of Manhattan. Deciding to forego the map given to us upon entry, my sister and I proceeded to weave our way through the massive halls and experience the work as it presented itself to us (trying to embrace the course of least resistance lifestyle - at least for leisure activities!). Here are some of my favorite moments from the Museum:
One of my favorite subjects to see in paintings is the artist’s studio. I am always fascinated by the way painters present their space to the world and I’m particularly drawn to the Cubist and Fauve versions of this subject. This Braque painting drew me in for quite some time - initially the color palette struck me, but the more I stared at it, the more layers began to reveal themselves. The subtle floral pattern of the wallpaper, the dreamy blue sky peeking through the window and the rhythmic waves of painted woodgrain. I wouldn’t mind looking at this one every day.
I’ve been a long time fan of Sam Gilliam’s work and seeing the spectacular piece on display was such a treat. The scale is so hard to convey in photos and so impressive to see in person. The colors were gorgeous - like a fiery sunset or the surface of an agate stone. Gilliam’s Drape paintings hang from the walls like massive theater curtains - a theater I would love to step into!
I love fashion that doesn’t take itself too seriously and am a wholehearted believer in dressing for fun, so The Met’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibition was right up my alley. There were so many fantastically over the top (and absurd!) pieces in the show, but one of my favorites has to be this Jeremy Scott for Moschino confection. A sphere of the fluffiest violet marabou feathers covered in a kaleidoscope of colorful butterflies - I was tickled when I saw this!
As a student of art history, I was humbled in the presence of this unfinished DaVinci - the last piece he worked on before he died. On loan from the Vatican Museum, the painting was displayed all alone in a darkened room, with a throng of people crowded around it, trying to get a moment with this hauntingly beautiful piece of history. At 500 years old, I was struck by how modern it looked. Perhaps it was due to its unfinished state but also a testament to DaVinci’s genius. The lion in the foreground was just blocked in and not fully rendered - it looked like it could have been taken from a Symbolist painting. The raw emotion on Saint Jerome’s face, the way his eyes turned up towards the heavens, was particularly moving, and reminded me of the figures painted by El Greco or even Francis Bacon. The flat and graphic scene behind the figures felt like something from a Japanese landscape painting. The movement he created with the figures felt so advanced, almost cinematic - as if he had pushed the whole world of painting forward within this piece.
Gustav Klimt’s paintings are like shimmering jewel boxes of color and this one is no exception, but what drew me to it initially was the statuesque figure of the young girl standing front and center, her gaze defiant, her stance almost challenging. I liked that Klimt painted her this way - larger than life.