Met Museum boasts unrivaled exhibits
While exploring exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, sophomores Nick Avery, left, and Dana King pose beneath an Egyptian arch. The Met houses over two million works of art and accommodates almost five million people every year.
This review is a collaboration between sophomores Mary Hierholzer and Nick Avery who drew on personal accounts of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
In America alone, there are hundreds of museums with topics ranging from state history to famous presidents. None, however, is as prestigious as the Metropolitan Museum, or Met, located in New York City on Fifth Avenue.
The Met was founded in 1870, according to its Web site, with the purpose of "establishing and maintaining ... a Museum and library of art, of encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing the general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, of furnishing popular instruction." To this day the Met has lived true to those words, housing over two million works of art and accommodating almost five million people every year.
Inside the doors of the Met lie numerous exhibits and galleries. Going off first glance, only two really stood out when the ancient history category was presented.
The first was the Egyptian wing of the museum, which features art and many historical findings which have been dug up throughout the ages. The ward also contains a brief history of Egypt, including everything from its early beginnings to the first archeological encounters decades past.
What made the Egyptian section so special for me was the presence and elegance found amid the design of the rooms, rather than the many artifacts sheltered inside. Mummies and beautifully carved tombs are indeed fascinating, but it seemed that once I had seen one, the rest faded into a dreary blur in the back of my mind.
Each room seemed like it was given the same amount of time and effort as one of the many famous sculptures inside of the glass, taped-off cases. I saw a bountiful use of different woods and marbles on the floor, as well as unique colors on the surrounding walls.
The most awe-inspiring and impressive sight in the museum was the Sackler Wing, which includes a vast wishing well dotted with coins of every color, as well as many large archways and statues. As natural lit poured in from windows at every angle, it was impossible to believe I was in New York. I had obviously been transported to ancient Egypt as soon as my body had entered the wing.
Through the winding staircases and extremely lavished halls I went stumbling about and found the Greek and Roman region.
I was impressed by the encore of sheer attention to detail I had encountered in the Egyptian wing. It seemed to me that several months of work and planning were adhered within the styling of the walls and layout. Lofty pillars and marble floors once again gave the effect of being in a different time period and location as I walked around the titanic room.
Unlike the Egyptian wing, however, several stunning pieces occupied the Greek and Roman section, of which two caught my immediate and full attention.
There is nothing in the world more awe-inspiring than a demigod holding a sword in one hand and a monster's head in the other. This is why "Perseus with the Head of Medusa," by Antonio Canova, is such a timeless and impresive piece. Although only a replica, the cold marble, chiseled and refined, stayed the center of attention for most of my duration.
"To fully discover every piece of work in the Metropolitan Museum, one would have to spend hours, if not days to delve through all of the museum's contents." --Mary Hierholzer, '12
One statue stood out to many guests, as a crowd slowly started to form around it. This statue happened to be, after pushing through a throng of people, "Ugolino and His Sons." Crafted by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux in 1861, this image represents the death by starvation of Ugolino della Gherardesca and his offspring in "The Divine Comedy" by Dante.
A look of complete and total agony is expertly depicted on Ugolino's face along with realistic body and muscle structures. Under Ugolino sit his children, begging him to kill them in order to nourish his own body. It is as if all the human suffering in the world lives within the frozen moment this statue portrays.
One step into the section of impressionist paintings and my breath stopped -- the soft colors and brushstrokes illustrated the most beautiful scenes I had ever witnessed.
As my taste in art revolves around softness and elegance, this section hit the bill for me. Rooms were filled with paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, my favorite impressionist Edgar Degas and so many more.
One particular piece by Monet caught my attention immediately with the serene shades of an early morning. With a second look, I recognized the familiar outline of Big Ben and Parliament in London, England.
A smile grew on my face while I studied the details of "Houses of Parliament," and took notice of Monet's technique. His view from across the River Thames captures a site still standing today, but in a profound style. Each brushstroke, though seeming individual, built up a scene of beauty.
Examination of each artist's style kept me enticed, moving from room to room of the section. I recognized Monet's gardens, Van Gogh's squiggles and Seraut's remarkable creations composed merely of dots. Up close each spot of various color appeared random; however, with a few steps back, it transformed into a window to another life.
Despite areas filled with numerous big-named artists, my heart found contentment in the rooms dedicated to Degas. His ballet dancers have always been absolute favorites, so when I discovered walls and walls of these ballet scenes, I was thrilled. Degas captured ballet dancers at their best and worst. Attending their rehearsals to observe movements, he recorded their moments of perfection, as well as times of stress, exhaustion and pain.
Although we were given hours to explore the Met's vast halls and exhibits, we barely scratched the surface. To fully discover every piece of work in the Metropolitan Museum, one would have to spend hours, if not days to delve through all of the museum's contents.
For students like ourselves, the chance to visit a place with numerous rare and valuable masterpieces is appealing, so we encourage anyone in the area of the Met to check it out. It's interesting and once-in-a-lifetime feel for us was indeed a highlight of our trip.
For more New York content, read the April 19 article, Broadway performances astonish audiences.