The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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|The Metropolitan Museum of Art is
one of the world's largest and finest art museums. Its collections include more than two million works of
art spanning 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe.
As for Italian Art, your palette will be more than
satisfied. The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers a menu that is vast and rich. Like a box of chocolates, let
us suggest that you savor one or two exhibits at a time, but come back often. I still remember with excitement
the thrill I felt as a child of 10 seeing the Roman statues and relics. I felt I was whisked back to the days
of Caesar as I entered the Greek and Roman wing. There is so much to see! Let's take a stroll around the museum
and glance at just a few of the sights that await you.
|As we enter this impressive building, we first absorb
the incredible vastness of the Great Hall. Admission is free but a donation is very gratefully accepted (and
well earned!). Check in your coats and off you go! The recently inaugurated new Greek and Roman Wing is the
perfect setting for an acclaimed installation of Greek art from prehistoric through classical times, including
exceptional sculptures, vases and bronzes. The Roman sculptures, glass, jewelry, gems and bronzes, not to
mention the frescoes from the villas of Boscoreale that were destroyed in the eruption of Vesuvius, are equally
spectacular. And don't forget those crafty Etruscans! Traces of their mastery – including a chariot – are
evident as well. If you want to know more about ancient art, you can go upstairs and consult the vast Greek
and Roman Study Collection.
||Next, we glide into the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
display. Here we see outstanding works of Italian Renaissance sculpture, such as Tullio Lombardo's marble
statue of Adam. Tullio was the son of the famous Italian sculptor Pietro Lombardo, who designed The Church
of Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice. Tullio and his brother Antonio were instrumental in the church's decoration.
We also see the beginnings of Italian Majolica, as well as several extravagant rooms including an entire boudoir
taken from a patrician palazzo in Venice. Perhaps the most stunning room is the actual studio that was used
by Federico di Montefeltro, a 15th-century Italian duke. It is entirely constructed of inlaid wood – my
favorite piece is the trompe l'oeil bird cage complete with parrot!
|I will never forget the Met's Medieval Wing from my
childhood. All those ethereal saints and benevolent madonnas and eery crucifixes! Little did I know it was
one of the world's finest collections, numbering about 6,000 pieces. They come from all over but many began
their lives in Italy. At Christmastime, the the tiered courtyard is embellished by a large tree which is entirely
covered with nativity scene figures from 18th-century Naples. I remember as a child gazing in awe at these
splendid angels, attendant figures and the Holy Family. The soft strains of ancient music only heighten the
||Next in this imaginary tour, where there is no limit
to our time or energy, we dash up the majestic flight of stairs to the European Paintings exhibit. There we
see many Italian works of art including those by Sandro Botticelli, the early Renaissance painter who spent
his life in Florence. He is most known for his work called "Birth of Venus." As we stroll to our
right we peak into the Musical Instrument Exhibit to drink in the atmosphere of sound. Here we will find the
oldest extant piano, by Bartolomeo Cristofori. Cristofori was a Paduan harpsichord-maker who invented the
pianoforte. This particular piece is dated back to 1720.
|Amazing! And yet even now we have a craving for more,
so we head towards the southern side of the second floor to the Twentieth-Century Hall, where amidst many
artists we find another Italian hero, the Futurist Umberto Boccioni, whose works are an extraordinary representation
of the dynamics of movement.
There is so much more to see and learn but I must let you do that
on your own. It's been fun and I hope you've enjoyed it too.
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