This place ignites an ocean of memories in my mind. I remember first visiting the museum when I was about 13 years old. My dad had surprised me on my first trip to the Big Apple, and touring the Egyptian exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was on my bucket list. At the time, I was studying Egyptian history in school, so walking through this massive exhibit was more than a thrill. It sounds sort of geeky now, but it's a lot like the experience of seeing a movie after reading the book. Everything comes alive, because a part of you has experienced the narrative. I've been to the museum several times since I was a wide-eyed 13-year-old, but to this day, my favorite spot in the gigantic maze of masterpieces is still the Egyptian exhibit, especially the Temple of Dendur.
Housed in the most beautiful part of the museum, The Sackler Wing, the Temple of Dendur lives in a a most meticulously designed room of slanted floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The echoey space is illuminated in the watery sunlight, peering down at the temple, bending prisms through the plated glass. All the inquiring wanderer needs to do is follow the path of the lazy river ("the Nile") leading up to the temple's impressively open mouth. It's ostentatious. Almost obnoxiously so. It's a brooding construction of sandstone, etched with delicate lotus bundles, papyrus stalks, power-hungry statues and prayerful relics. This is a complete construction that was removed from it's original site in 1965 (built around 15 BC) and put back together in this room (in 1978 - thanks, Jackie O!) You really feel like you are standing in the Nubian oasis, staring up at the mammoth pagan sanctuary. It's a strange kind of wonder. And I just love it.
|// The Path through the Irises, Monet // Figures on the Beach, Renoir // Bouquet of Sunflowers, Monet // |
// Bridge Over a Pond of Water Lilies, Monet // Roses, Van Gogh // The Manneporte, Monet //
// Camille Monet in the Garden at Argenteuil, Monet // Irises, Van Gogh // By the Seashore, Renoir //
|// We LOVED this one. My grainy iPhone pic doesn't do it any justice.|
Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, Paul Signac //
Stevie has endured The Temple of Dendur with me before. Even though there is SO MUCH more to see in this museum (it would take weeks to get through all the exhibits), I can't help but beg to visit this spot each time we visit. It's just a special place. However, this time around Stevie got to pick the tour, so we spent most of our visit with the dear, fanciful impressionists in the European Paintings and with the feisty in the Modern and Contemporary art. It really is so impressive that an American museum has so much famous work from European artists. It's a shame that more people don't visit, because the gang's all here! Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir. Not to mention - Klimt, Matisse, Dove, O'Keefe, Picasso. All housed under the same roof! It's a mighty wonder.
One favorite memory came back to me while we wandered amongst these European visionaries. When I visited with my dad years ago, he also wanted to spend all his time in the Impressionists wing. I remember how he would lean into the art as close as physically possible, nose almost to the brushstrokes, eyes lit up, scrutinizing and fawning over the artists' work. He was awe-struck. And consequently, the museum guards would rush out, "Sir, sir! You cannot touch the art! Please step away..." This must have happened twenty times. My dear dad. He's a curious examiner of the world. And unafraid to get in trouble. And humorously alive in my memory :)
Stevie & I wandered for hours. My feet tired out. I sneaked snacks. We had such a blast. And it definitely brought back some memories from this past summer's Euro Trip, where we traipsed through countless museums and had the absolute time of our life.
|// Stevie and Claude with his Water Lilies. We tried to see an almost complete collection of these bad boys in Paris, bus alas, we ran out of time!|
|// I love this guy A LOT. Oh Gustav. These were the non-nudes.|
Serena Pulitzer Lederer, Klimt & Mada Primavesi, Klimt //
|// I promise, we were ALLOWED to photograph the art. We aren't rebels. Although we might already be soccer parents (Exhibit A: Stevie & the camera bag. Nuff said.) //|
Spending this excessively rainy Saturday with Stevie was pretty perfect. With so much to see in NYC and so little time until this little one arrives, we are scurrying at our best pace to experience all the gems New York has to offer! And this one? Well, it's fine art at its finest. A New York must.