Founded in 1870, few museums in the world are like New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. On par with the Louvre and the British Museum, the “Met” as it’s affectionately known, is home to one of the largest art collections in the world. The museum’s permanent collection contains over two million objects, from ancient Greek sculptures and Egyptian mummies to Renaissance and famous American paintings. Roughly six million visitors come every year to explore the museum’s 17 acres – yes, I said 17 acres, of galleries and exhibits. It’s the largest museum in the western hemisphere. This is not a place that you’ll be able to fully cover in one day or even one week, so make sure to budget your time or focus on the exhibits that you may have a keen interest in.
Some of these extraordinary exhibits or sections of the museum include:
European Art Collections
The Met’s 2nd floor contains one of the largest collections of European paintings in the world. There are over 1700 canvases going back to the 13th century up until the 1900s by some of the greatest and most famous artists of all time including Rembrandt, Raphael, Veláquez, Monet, El Greco, Duccio, Zubarán, van Goyen and more. The dollar amount of this collection of paintings is greater than the GDP of some small countries!
Greek & Roman Galleries
There are 27 galleries dedicated to classical Greek and Roman art and sculpture. Though all of the rooms are spectacular, some of the more notable are the Great Hall and the Roman sculpture court. One of the most famous and ancient statues of Hercules is housed here as well.
Egyptian Art Galleries
Arguably one of the best archaeological collections in the world, the 39 galleries devoted to ancient Egypt include the famous Mastaba Tomb of Perneb and the Temple of Dendur. The reflecting pool is also quite impressive.
Art of America
Recently renovated, the American art galleries display a wide variety of fine art from all time periods in US history. You’ll be amazed as probably a lot the paintings that you saw in your high school American history textbooks will be on display here. Talk about a trip back in time!
Asian and Middle Eastern Galleries
The Met has an impressive collection of art from Arab countries, Iran, Turkey, Central and South Asia in 15 separate rooms. Some of the more popular exhibits include a 12th-century ceramic chess set from Iran and a large collection of Ottoman textiles.
It’s impossible to write everything about the museum here, so you’re best just blocking off a large chunk of time and seeing the museum for yourself. It will be well worth it!
The book store is also great and worth visiting.
For more info, visit the Met’s official web site for new and visiting exhibits as well as museum hours.
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