My New York Trip Day #7: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Again)

DSCN2080Today I decided to go back to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and see everything I didn’t see the first day that I still wanted to see.  Which was mainly (of course) the Egyptian exhibit.

The Egyptian exhibit, for those of you that hven’t been there, is massive.  It’s truly enormous and the thing is that there’s so much stuff packed into it.  In the Roman and Greek exhibits at least most stuff is spread out but in the Egyptian one there’s stuff crammed into every single corner.  There are study galleries everywhere and even the main exhibits have so many things in them.  Everywhere you look, there are commemorative scarabs, beads, combs, cosmetic boxes and every sort of little trinket you could imagine.

DSCN2059One of the things that was absolutely fabulous was the amount of jewelry that has survived despite tomb robberies.  This lady’s tomb was looted thousands of years ago but the robbers were interrupted because they didn’t desecrate her mummy.  So she was still wearing the jewelry and sacred amulets the priests had placed on her mummy before she was sealed in her sarcophagus.  And yes, this necklace is totally unrestored.  That’s the original string there!  The faience beads are absolutely fabulous, aren’t they?

DSCN2073One of the things I particularly appreciated about the Egyptian exhibit was the room practically dedicated to Hatshepsut, one of the female pharaohs.  This is one of the statues where she keeps her rather feminine face and physique but dons the pharaohnic regalia.  Some of the sphinxes that lined the way up to her mortuary temple were there and there were some fabulous statues made out of Aswan granite, which is a beautiful pink colour.  Hatshepsut really was an incredible woman and seeing the delicacy of some of the works of art she commissioned was a real treat.

DSCN2068This pendant from Princess Mereret just embodies the grandeur that was ancient Egypt.  It shows the skill of the craftsmen, the splendour and vanity of the court and the amount of trade Egypt had with the world because of the many different precious and semi-precious stones used for the inlay.  It’s simply fabulous and it leaves you with a sense of total awe when you realize it is 4,000 years old.  You really do feel stupid in comparison to these ancient peoples.

DSCN2123I didn’t just stay in the Egyptian exhibit, though.  I also went through to see the European and Medieval art sections, which were also amazing and awe-inspiring.  Some of the sumptuousness of the religious jewelry and iconography was rather shocking but I suppose it shouldn’t have been in hindsight, especially the things from before the Reformation.  I found the stained glass windows like the one above even more impressive than all of the Rembrandts I saw.  Why?  They have just as much detail (and sometimes more) and I just like the overall style better.  Not a popular opinion, but it’s just how I feel.

So that was my second and final day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  How has your day been?

7 comments

  1. LMcCJ

    I remember when the Temple of Dendur exhibit first opened. All the school trips, all the people–you’re lucky you waited for the crowd to die down (30+ years!). My 13 year old can only look at so many paintings in a day and my 17 year old is most interested in textiles so we always revisit the Egyptian wing on our excursions. I’m glad you got to go back.

    • Carrie Slager

      I was glad to go back as well. Oddly enough, the museum isn’t as busy on weekends as it was when I went during the week. I guess fewer tour groups run on weekends.

      That’s great that your kids get to go see the museum regularly. I wish I could have had at least two more days there because there is just so much to see. I mean, I barely saw Oceania and I didn’t get to see any of the American wing. I had to blaze through Near Eastern and Asian Art because I really wanted to see the European art. So next time I go (which will be some time from now) I’m definitely hitting those exhibits I didn’t see first. I think my favourite exhibit was the special Deccan India exhibit. Have you seen that one? It’s just fantastic!

    • Carrie Slager

      There’s a lot to see there so I recommend taking at least two days to visit the Met. I mean, if you spend any amount of time admiring things and reading the placards you just don’t have enough time to see everything they have to offer. That’s why it took most of my first day to get through the Greek and Roman exhibits. They’re massive but they’re still not as massive as the entire Egyptian wing! Although I must say I was really quite impressed with how big the Etruscan gallery on the second floor balcony was. I learned so much more about them and they even had a bronze Etruscan chariot some farmer dug up.

      • cav12

        Amazing! I would love to check out the Etruscan gallery. Perhaps more than 2 days is needed ;D
        Spent 5 hours at the Louvre and that wasn’t nearly enough!

        • Carrie Slager

          No, definitely not! Especially when you factor in the ENORMOUS European art gallery as well as the Near Eastern Art from ancient Persia, Palmyra, etc. And of course the Asian Art exhibit is massive as well. So you do need a minimum of two days, preferably about 3 or 4 just to see the whole thing and really appreciate everything.

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