The Metropolitan Museum of Art (best known as Met by New Yorkers) it is probably the best museum in New York and one of the best art museums in the world. Located on Fifth Avenue, bordering Central Park on the so-called Museum Mile, it was opened at 1897 and you can find more than 2.000.000 of works of art, with spectacular collections of European, medieval and Egyptian art.
The Metropolitan Museum collection
Egyptian art and Dendur temple
The collection is composed of more than 36.000 pieces of Egyptian art, classified from the Paleolithic to the time of Roman domination. Although most of the initial collection of Egyptian art comes from private collections, almost half of the current collection comes from discoveries made through archaeological excavations organized by the same museum between 1906 and 1944.
Among the most valuable pieces of the collection is a set of 24 wooden models, discovered in a tomb of Deir el-Bahari in 1920.
However, the most popular piece is the Temple of Dendur, which is part of the temples that were dismantled by the Egyptian government to save them from the flood caused by the construction of the Aswan Dam, like the Temple of Debod that can be visited in Madrid. Donated to the United States in 1965 and rebuilt in the Met in 1978 it is located in a large room, partially surrounded by a sheet of water and illuminated by a large window overlooking Central Park.
Greek and Roman art
This collection owns more than 50.000 pieces dated up to the 312 a. C. The collection dates back to the founding of the museum: the first object recorded in the museum’s records is a Roman sarcophagus. Although the collection focuses on objects from Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, these historical regions include a great variety of cultures and artistic styles. The museum includes the reconstruction of a noble villa in Boscoreale, which had been buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the 79 a. C
This collection consists of a wide spectrum of Western art from the 4th century to the early 16th century, as well as Byzantine art, and pre-medieval antiquities that are not in the collection of ancient Greece and Rome. Like the Islamic collection, this collection has ample examples of art in two and three dimensions, with many religious objects. In total, the permanent collection of this department has 11.000 objects. Due to its size, It is the only collection that is housed in two places: in the main building of the museum, on the 5ª Avenue, and in the Cloisters, a separate building, dedicated exclusively to medieval art. The same department takes care of both places.
The Met has one of the best collections in the world of European painting. The collection is centered on masters from the 16th to the 19th century, with emphasis on French, Italian and Dutch artists, and although it only has a few 2.200 pieces, many of the great artists are present with a lot of works: the museum has a large collection of paintings by Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Rembrandt, including Aristotle with a bust of Homer, five paintings by Vermeer that make up his largest group of works existing in a single museum, since there are no more than forty works by this painter, van Gogh, with paintings such as Self-portrait with straw hat, and some classic paintings by Dürer, Brueghel the Elder, Botticelli and Domenico Veneziano, as well as works by important Spanish painters such as Velazquez, El Greco and Goya.
Collection of weapons and armor
This department is the only one of its kind in the United States and is one of the most popular collections. The “parade” of armed figures on horses, installed on the first floor of the Weapons and Armor Gallery It is one of the most spectacular and recognized images of the museum.
The strong point of the collection are European pieces from the Late Middle Ages and Japanese from the 5th century until the 19th century. However, the collection covers more geographical regions than almost any other department of the museum, including weapons and armor from ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Roman Empire, ancient Near East, Africa, Oceania and America. Among the collection of 15.000 objects there are many pieces that were made for the use of kings and princes, including armor belonging to Henry II of France and Ferdinand I of Habsburg.
This department has one of the most complete collections in the Occident. The collection goes back almost to the founding of the museum: many of the philanthropists who made the first donations included works of Asian art. Today, the Met owns a complete wing dedicated to the Asian collection, which contains more than 60.000 pieces and spans 4.000 years. Each Asian civilization is represented and the pieces exhibited show every type of decorative art, from painting to engravings, sculpture and metal works. The department is recognized for its complete collection of calligraphy and Chinese painting, as well as works from Nepal and Tibet. The collection has ritual objects, paintings and functional objects.
The first piece to be part of the Met’s collection was an allegorical sculpture by Hiram Powers called California, acquired in 1870, which is still on display today. In the following decades, the collection of American paintings and sculptures grew to reach more than 1.000 paintings, 600 sculptures and 2.600 drawings, spanning from the early colonial period to the early twentieth century.
Many of the most recognized paintings in the United States belong to the Met collection Including portrait of George Washington made by Gilbert Stuart, and Washington crossing the Delaware, by Emanuel Leutze. The collection also includes masterpieces by notable painters such as Winslow Homer, George Caleb Bingham, John Singer Sargent, James McNeill Whistler and Thomas Eakins.
Modern art at the Met
Although the MOMA is considered the main museum of modern art in New York, the Metropolitan collection is no less significant, with more than 10.000 works of art, mainly European and American artists. Among the highlighted pieces are the portrait of Gertrude Stein made by Picasso, the white flag by Jasper Johns and the triptych Beginning by Max Beckmann. Some artists are represented with works of great quality for a museum that is not exclusively dedicated to modern art; For example, the collection possesses 40 paintings by Paul Klee, spanning his entire career.
Video of the Metropolitan Museum
Here we leave you a small preview of the main sections of the Met, I hope you like it:
Hours of the Metropolitan Museum
- Sunday to Thursday: 10:00am –5:30pm
- Friday and Saturday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
- Closed January 1, the first sunday of May, Thanksgiving and December 25.
Fares (year 2019)
These are currently the mandatory fees to enter the museum, for all those who are not residents of New York. The entrance to the museum includes the possibility of entering the day to The Cloisters and the Met Breuer.
- Adults: $25.00
- Older than 65 years: $17.00
- Students: $12.00
- Children under 12 years accompanied by an adult: Free
The Met is included in all New York tourist cards, in this article we indicate you the best tourist card for your trip to New York, tips and recommendations to buy it, avoid access queues and save money when you access the main tourist sites in the city.
How to get to the Met?
- Metro: Take the 4, 5, or 6 subway line and get off at 86th Street station. The museum is about half a mile from the station and it will take us a few minutes walking.
- Bus: Take buses M1, M2, M3, or M4 that go through Fifth Avenue (from uptown) and get off at 82nd Street or take them on Madison Avenue (from downtown) and get off at 83rd Street
For more information, current and upcoming exhibitions, events,…, visit the official website of the Met Museum.